Nauseda: JEF leaders discuss air defense for Ukraine, sanctions on Russians

  • 2022-03-15
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – Leaders of countries contributing to the UK-led Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) discussed air defense support to Ukraine and sanctions that would affect the population of Russia, which is waging war on its neighbor, during their summit in London, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda has said.    

"We talked about very specific military assistance that could be provided by countries participating in the JEF," Nauseda said in a comment forwarded by his office.  

"It seems to me that we did manage to agree on the fact that today Ukraine is in dire need of air defense and systems that would help control or at least prevent Russia from dominating the airspace," he said. 

According to Nauseda, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson proposed to set up a fund for Ukraine to facilitate the acquisition and transportation of military equipment where it is most needed.

"Another part of the discussion was devoted to Russia: we talked about sanctions that would be painful not only for the oligarchs, but also for the Russian public," the Lithuanian president said. 

Nauseda noted that opinion polls in Russia show increased support for President Vladimir Putin.

"This means that the Russian public apparently does not yet fully understand the nature and scale of the terrible aggression being perpetrated in Ukraine and the magnitude of suffering it causes to innocent people, and that such aggression can no longer be tolerated," he said. 

"The greater impact such sanctions have on a larger part of the Russian public, the sooner we can expect to see positive changes in Russian society and pressure from below on the Kremlin to change the situation."

The JEF is a high readiness combat unit formed to respond to emergencies in Europe and beyond: from humanitarian aid and deterrence to combat actions.

The JEF is currently made up of ten northern European countries, including Lithuania which contributes a company-sized unit attached to the Danish Army Battle Group.