VILNIUS – The West's response to Russia's aggression in Ukraine will determine the lives of future generations, Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte said on Thursday.
Speaking at a joint conference with President Gitanas Nauseda and Viktorija Cmilyte-Nielsen, the speaker of the parliament, Simonyte also said that the Kremlin's war against Ukraine was the result of attempts to talk to Russia.
"What is happening now is not a situation that emerged today or this year. In a sense, this is the consequence of trying to talk to Russia for a long time by taking its threats and claims into consideration," she said. "How we respond will determine how future generations will live."
Simonyte described Russia's military action against Ukraine as "an attempt to impose its image of the world on Western liberal democracy".
"These are the values on which our statehood rests," she said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a military operation in Ukraine early on Thursday, saying his aim was to "demilitarize and denazify" the western neighbor.
In his address, Putin also warned other countries that any attempt to interfere with the Russian action would lead to “consequences you have never seen".
Nauseda said this was Putin's usual rhetoric.
"It is meant to frighten. It is meant for the weak who might start to shiver and think that maybe it is better not to anger the man and his regime," he said.
The president added that the West would not put up with what is happening in pro-Western Ukraine, reiterating the need "to strengthen Kyiv's Euro-Atlantic integration perspective".
Cmilyte-Nielsen described Putin's threats as "thuggish rhetoric".
"I see it as a reminder to the international community that Russia is a nuclear state, the only argument Russia has at the moment," she said.
The speaker said the West's united stance was the only way to respond to this.