Lithuanian president urges West's all-round response as he pays tribute to killed soldier

  • 2024-03-15
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – President Gitanas Nauseda said that Russia can only be stopped by an all-round response as he paid his final respects to a Lithuanian soldier killed in combat in Ukraine. 

"The responsibility for the war and the deaths lies with those who started this war. It's impossible to stop them with pleas, persuasion or phone calls," Nauseda told reporters at St. Ignatius' Church, where the soldier's remains lie in state. 

"There is another way, a fairer and more effective one, which is to fight back (...) on the battlefield and respond in all other senses, both with sanctions and complete isolation. It's important that we aren't inconsistent and don't make half-hearted decisions where some organizations isolate and others open up. To me, this is incomprehensible," he added.

The Ukrainian Foreign Legion's volunteer Tadas Tumas, nicknamed Giant, was killed on February 23, becoming the first Lithuanian soldier to die while fighting on the side of Ukraine against Russian aggression.

He and a Ukrainian soldier were transporting mines to the front lines near Bakhmut when their vehicle was hit by a Russian drone.  

"I came to pay my respects to a freedom fighter. We all know very well that Lithuania is unique in the sense that all our people, all as one, are ready to support Ukraine by all means. And especially brave people are ready to pay the highest price for it," said Nauseda.

"First and foremost, he was a brave man for whom the freedom of his homeland was the highest value, of course, along with the freedom of Ukraine. My respects to him," the president said.

Tumas' remains were brought back to Lithuania after a final farewell ceremony in Kyiv. He will be buried at Vilnius' Antakalnis Cemetery on Saturday.