VILNIUS - Russian President Vladimir Putin's threats to use nuclear weapons now resemble North Korea's similar behavior, Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte, currently in Japan, says.
In a statement issued on Friday, the Lithuanian prime minister stressed that Japan, which is situated not far from North Korea, is constantly watching how its representatives "from time to time allow themselves to go out and brandish nuclear weapons".
"Clearly, this is very similar to Putin's threats. Obviously, Japan takes this threat very seriously. It's certainly a matter of great concern and apprehension since it's one of the countries that have survived a nuclear tragedy," Simonyte said.
"Clearly, the global effort aimed at stopping the madmen who even think they can talk about using nuclear weapons, must be more focused than ever," the Lithuanian prime minister said.
Simonyte said she heard Japanese politicians and business people's support for Ukraine in its fight against the Russian invasion as they understand that "one cannot surrender to autocratic regimes, and democracies must unite to support Ukraine".
Putin has made numerous threats to use nuclear weapons ever since he started the invasion of Ukraine in late February. Most recently, he has accused Kyiv of allegedly preparing to use a "dirty bomb".
These statements have raised concern within the international community that Russia may try to use this statement as a pretext to escalate the situation.
Kyiv suspects that Russia itself may use a "dirty bomb" and blame it on the Ukrainians to justify the use of conventional nuclear weapons after Moscow has recently suffered several military defeats in southern and eastern Ukraine.
Meanwhile, nuclear-armed Pyongyang is a constant source of concern for its neighbors and the international community because of its ballistic missile launches.