VILNIUS - Lithuania started the fight against Russian totalitarianism three decades ago and Ukraine is now finishing it on the battlefield, Chairman of Ukraine's Verkhovna Rada Ruslan Stefanchuk said in Vilnius on Tuesday.
"Once upon a time, you started the fight against Russian totalitarianism and destroyed the Soviet Union, and now we are finishing the fight on the battlefield, literally, defending ourselves against a large-scale, unprovoked armed aggression of Russia against Ukraine," Stefanchuk said at the Lithuanian parliament.
He is the highest-ranking Ukrainian official to visit Lithuania since the start of the Russian attack on Ukraine on February 24. The Ukrainian politician will attend the 12th session of the Assembly of the Lithuanian, Polish and Ukrainian parliaments in Vilnius.
"By occupying part of Ukraine's territory, by systematically destroying civilian and energy infrastructure, by torturing and killing peaceful Ukrainian citizens, Russia is once again showing the whole world that not only does it not respect the right of peoples to self-determination, not only does it not value human life and freedom, but it threatens its peaceful neighbors every minute of every day. (...) Russia is openly trying to intimidate everyone," the chairman o of the Verkhovna Rada said.
And democracies can respond to this with solidarity, determination and steadfastness, he said.
"We will heroically defend our independence, freedom and peaceful life for ourselves, for Europe and for the whole free world. We will rely on strong international support in this struggle," Stefanchuk said.
He thanked Lithuania for its support and assistance to his country since the very first hours of the Russian invasion.
"We are grateful for your leadership on many pressing issues in the region, for your unwavering and fervent support for freedom and democracy, and for the fact that you are supporting Ukraine and Ukrainians in their honest struggle in these days," the Ukrainian parliament speaker said in Vilnius.