VILNIUS – Lithuanians will "stand shoulder to shoulder" with the Czech people if the Czech sovereignty is threatened, Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said on Monday in response to Czech presidential candidate Andrej Babis' remark that he would not send troops to defend Poland and the Baltic states.
"I would comment only one thing to the Czech people, to our very, very good friends in Czechia that if Czech freedom, sovereignty, territorial integrity were ever to be challenged by an outside force, Lithuanians would stand shoulder to shoulder with the Czech people," Landsbergis told reporters before the EU Foreign Affairs Council's meeting in Brussels.
When asked if he would send Czech troops into an open conflict if Russia attacked Poland or the Baltic countries, Babis said that he would not do so.
"Of course not. I think we need to talk about peace," the former prime minister said on Sunday in a live televised debate ahead of the second round of the country's presidential election.
After the debate, Babis tried to correct his words by saying that he was answering a "hypothetical question" and that he would comply with NATO's Article 5 in the event of an invasion.
The president of the Czech Republic, a member of NATO, is the official commander-in-chief of the country's armed forces.