Strengthening of NATO's eastern flank must continued - Baltic parliament speakers

  • 2023-06-28
  • LETA/BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN – Speakers of the parliaments of the Baltic states adopted a joint declaration on Wednesday in which they said that the recent "march of justice" on Moscow by the Wagner mercenary group was yet another sign of the unpredictability of Russia and therefore it is necessary to remain vigilant and continue strengthening collective defense and deterrence as well as border security on NATO’s eastern flank.

“Individually and with our NATO allies we must continue strengthening collective defense and deterrence and border security on NATO’s eastern flank bordering Russia and Belarus. We look forward to concrete action on this goal at the forthcoming NATO Summit in Vilnius," the speakers said.

According to them, the focus must stay on assisting Ukraine.

"Together with our allies and partners we will continue providing all the necessary support to Ukraine, for as long as necessary, until Ukraine’s victory. We call on the whole international community to increase the support to Ukraine in its ongoing struggle for freedom and territorial integrity," the speakers said.

They also called for the establishment of a special international tribunal under the auspices of the UN General Assembly to prosecute the crime of aggression committed by the leadership of the Russian Federation.

The speakers of the Baltic parliaments expressed their conviction that ultimately Ukraine’s security in the long-run can be best guaranteed by the collective defense of NATO and called on NATO leaders to start a substantive process of inviting Ukraine to join NATO at the summit in Vilnius.

The speakers underlined that the parliaments of the Baltic states had long labelled the Wagner mercenary group as a terrorist organization for the atrocities committed by its members on the territory of Ukraine and against the Ukrainian population.

"We reiterate our call on the European Union to include the Wagner mercenary group in the list of persons, groups and entities involved in terrorist acts not least for the violence and instability the group spreads on the African continent and elsewhere," they said.

According to the speakers, the emergence of the Wagner mercenary group in Belarus could make the security situation on the eastern borders of NATO and the EU even more precarious.

"We reiterate our condemnation of Lukashenko’s regime in Belarus for supporting Russia’s war against Ukraine. The harboring of the terrorist organization Wagner group by Belarus is unacceptable and we call for further strengthening sanctions against Belarus," the speakers added.

The joint declaration was signed by Estonian parliament speaker Lauri Hussar, Latvian parliament speaker Edvards Smiltens and Lithuanian parliament speaker Viktorija Cmilyte-Nielsen.