VILNIUS – The European Union now has a great change to demonstrate unity and speak about Ukraine's fast EU integration, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda said after an information European Council meeting in Brussels on Thursday.
"We have a great opportunity to demonstrate that unity and speak more about those things we paid less attention before, first of all, about a very clear perspective for Ukraine in terms of EU integration," he told reporters in Brussels.
"Yes, we held an EU summit in December, focused on this issue, but today we want to speak about it more clearly and specifically and provide very clear instruments, including financial and economic, for that to happen," he said.
In his words, despite the existing tensions sparked by Russia, Ukraine is trying to carry out reforms needed for integration.
"We all agree that Ukraine is the EU's associated partner, Ukraine is a country with the same European values and principles, and Ukraine, despite the whole complicated situation, continues to try and implement those reforms that are necessary. It is demonstrating by all means its motivation and really very serious preparation for integration and I think, not to disappoint them, we can truly do more and send those signals," Nauseda said.
OUR TESTING CONTINUES
The Lithuanian president says Russia continues to test Western states and the demonstration of its military capability proves that.
"With no doubt, our testing continues, it's happening every day in increasingly new ways, and here we don’t need to have any illusions. Just like the maneuvers of its military capabilities we see now and they do not allow us to make very clear and unambiguous conclusions on what's going on in here," the Lithuanian leader said.
In his words, such action allows Moscow to maintain tensions and have a better negotiating position.
"It's probably also a way to maintain the attention and maintain the tensions as the uncertainty of those plans, probably, allows the other side to maintain a better negotiating position and speak with us from the position of force," Nauseda said.
The EU, however, is united and consistent on the Ukraine issue, the Lithuanian president said, adding that it's "a very good deterrence factor against Russia".
Kyiv has been seeking EU and NATO membership for years, with the country's officials saying it's Ukraine's priority.
Meanwhile, Moscow objects to Ukraine's NATO integration and now has more than 100,000 troops and military equipment near its borders.
Despite Russia's claims of the withdrawal of its troops, the West fears Moscow plans to invade Ukraine.