VILNIUS – Having massed its major forces near Ukraine's border, Russia wants to maintain both positions of military pressure and diplomatic dialogue, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda says.
"I think Russia intends to keep both alternatives open, to keep certain ambiguity of its plans. So, we see the concentration of military troops, this process is going on and we should not be misled by some information that probably they're turning around in the military capabilities of Russia," the president said in an interview with Bloomberg TV, published on Friday.
"I see the concentration, military buildup there and both alternatives are open. Probably, this is the reason or the ground for just to get a better, stronger negotiating position for Vladimir Putin, in order to keep the dialog with Western allies," he said.
The Lithuanian president once again said he had faith in a peaceful solution of the conflict, and he urged the West to stay united in this situation.
"I see this trend and this trend is encouraging," he said.
Nauseda also paid attention not only to the troops massed in the Russian territory, but also the ones in Belarus where some 45,000 Russian troops are stationed for army drills, and also a lot of military equipment, including nuclear-capable Iskander ballistic missiles are also deployed.
Nauseda also said he was in favor of imposing sanctions for Moscow if Russia invaded Ukraine. He also stressed the need to continue supporting Ukraine with financial, economic and military measures as the exodus of investments and capital "creates if not the panic, but the tension in society".
Ukraine won’t be able to implement the reforms the EU demands without money, and the reforms are one of the conditions for its EU membership, which can create a vicious circle.
"This is the reason why we need the financial package for Ukraine. And what is probably even more important is that we need a clearer EU perspective for Ukraine. We had the summit in December, it set a very good timetable and goals, but now, probably, we need even a more exact action plan dedicated to Ukraine," Nauseda said.
Moscow now has over 100,000 of its troops near Ukraine's border, stoking fears in the West of its possible invasion of Ukraine. Western countries are also concerned about the ongoing joint Russian-Belarusian military drills in Belarus.
Despite Russia's withdrawal claims, NATO and US leaders say they see no significant signs of that in fact happening, adding that the Alliance is ready for both a diplomatic solution and also possible aggression.