Lithuania slams France warship deal with Russia amid Ukraine crisis

  • 2014-07-22
  • From wire reports, VILNIUS

Lithuania's President Dalia Grybauskaite said Tuesday the European Union was compromising its values to protect trade ties with Russia, pointing to a French warship agreement with Moscow.

"We see the Mistralisation of European policy," Grybauskaite said, referring to a 1.2 billion euro ($1.6 billion) deal to supply Russia with two French ''Mistral'' warships.

"Values and security are undermined for the sake of business, when 'buy and rule' is being applied" the president told public broadcaster LRT, suggesting Moscow is using its purchasing power to divide opinion within the EU.

"The sale of military technology to Russia the under current circumstances cannot be tolerated," Grybauskaite, a former EU budget commissioner, said.

EU foreign ministers meet on Tuesday to decide whether to ratchet up sanctions on Russia over the Malaysian plane disaster.

Britain is calling for tougher measures but France and Germany, who each have important trade ties to Moscow, are seen as more reluctant.

Grybauskaite warned "indecisive" EU policy would mean "a direct invitation for the aggressor to be more aggressive and go further".

The Western powers ratcheted up the pressure on Moscow for failing to rein in pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine, and accuse it of supplying the sophisticated weaponry.

Having anchored their security in the EU and NATO following the fall of the Iron Curtain, the Baltic states and Poland are wary of the impact of Russia's actions in Ukraine on their security, the AFP points out.

"Nazism was not stopped in the 1930s, and we now we see great-Russia chauvinism which leads to things like an attack against a civilian airliner,'' said Grybauskaite. "Those who organized, ordered and supplied weapons must be held responsible, before the Hague Tribunal," she added.