VILNIUS – Vilnius and Helsinki perceive regional threats in the same way, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said in Finland on Monday, adding that the current geopolitical situation provides an opportunity to step up defense cooperation.
Lithuania's top diplomat also underlined that "NATO should stay and will stay an open-door organization".
"Even though Lithuania is part of NATO and Finland is not, we both see regional security eye to eye, and we both feel responsibility for our regional security," Landsbergis told a news conference in Helsinki after meeting with Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Havisto.
"We can use this opportunity and increase our cooperation in these matters" he said.
The two foreign ministers met as Russia's troop buildup near Ukraine's borders is making the West increasingly concerned about a military conflict in Europe.
In light of the changing security situation, Finnish President Sauli Niinisto said in a New Year's address that his country's "room to maneuver and freedom of choice also include the possibility of military alignment and of applying for NATO membership, should we ourselves so decide".
This has reignited debate over whether Finland should join the Alliance.