NATO and Lithuania talking tough as EU-Russia tensions loom over Ukraine
Right wing Ukrainian troops patrol areas in the eastern part of the country held by rebels fighting the central government. | Morning Star

Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis called for Western powers to prepare an “unprecedented” response to any Russian attack on Ukraine at an EU foreign ministers’ summit today.

He spoke out as new German Chancellor Olaf Scholz visited Warsaw to emphasize Berlin’s support for its militarization of the eastern border with Belarus to keep out refugees.

Mr. Scholz echoed EU chiefs’ description of the refugee crisis that erupted last month on the Polish border as a form of “hybrid warfare” waged by Belarus against the EU and appeared to soften Germany’s position on an ongoing rift with Poland over judicial independence, which has seen Brussels cut Poland out of pandemic recovery funds.

The German leader said he was hopeful that “a very good, pragmatic solution” to the standoff was imminent.

But he would not be drawn on the future of the Nord Stream II pipeline — an offshore gas pipeline from Russia that Poland and Ukraine oppose because it would allow Russia to bypass them when selling gas to the West — merely saying that gas would be of diminishing importance as Germany switches to renewables.

Germany’s regulator has suspended the approval procedure for the completed pipeline because of legal issues.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said the bloc was on “deter mode” over reports of a Russian troop build-up near Ukraine.

Russia denies any hostile intent, pointing out that its troops are within its own territory while tens of thousands of U.S. troops are stationed in Germany, Poland, and Lithuania.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said he fears a Ukrainian assault on its breakaway regions of Donetsk and Lugansk to try to end its seven-year civil war forcibly rather than by the ceasefire terms set out in the Minsk agreements.

But Mr. Landsbergis said he was “convinced that Russia is actually preparing for all-out war against Ukraine.”

The language is reminiscent of that deployed by Ukraine during the US-led Defender Europe 2021 military exercises earlier this year, which Kiev described as a dry run for “the war with Russia.”

On Sunday the G7 warned Russia of “massive consequences and severe cost” if it moves against Ukraine, though last week U.S. President Joe Biden said a military confrontation with Russia was “not on the table.”

Morning Star


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The Morning Star is the socialist daily newspaper published in Great Britain.

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