VILNIUS – Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda on Tuesday called on NATO to acknowledge that its 1997 agreement with Russia has failed.
"With Russia deploying tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus, we must finally admit and state the obvious: the NATO-Russia Founding Act has failed," the president's office quoted him as saying at a dinner hosted by Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte in The Hague.
The dinner was also attended by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and the leaders of Poland, Romania, Belgium, Norway and Albania.
Under the 1997 agreement, NATO pledged not to permanently deploy significant forces in Central and Eastern Europe, including the Baltic states.
In The Hague, Nauseda and Stoltenberg outlined the key agenda of NATO's July 11-12 summit in the Lithuanian capital.
Nauseda "underscored the importance of strengthening deterrence and defense and called for taking all the necessary steps in Vilnius to fully implement the decisions of the NATO Madrid Summit on forward defense", the president's office said in a press release.
The most important of these are "the approval of new regional defense plans, the reinforcement of air defense systems on the eastern flank of the Alliance and the enhancement of forward defense capabilities", according to the president.
"In the year since the Madrid Summit, the security situation on NATO's eastern flank has deteriorated. We face a growing threat and must respond adequately. Deterrence and forward defense are today's top priority," he said.
With the war in Ukraine ongoing for almost 500 days and showing no signs of ending soon, "further arms deliveries to Ukraine are necessary", according to Nauseda.
"In Vilnius, we need to make it clear that Ukraine is part of the transatlantic security architecture, that it will become a member of the Alliance as soon as possible and to agree on its pathway to membership," he said at the meeting in The Hague.