Lithuania urges NATO to break more of Russia’s red lines by supplying Ukraine with fighter jets and long-range missiles. Photo/REUTERS
VILNIUS – Lithuania, one of the countries NATO urged the military alliance to break through more “red lines” Russia by supplying fighter jets and long-range missiles to Ukraine.
“I have seen many red lines… that we, democratic countries, did not draw,” Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda said in an interview with LRT television on Tuesday.
“The terrorist state Russia is trying to pull it off, using fear and threats,” he said.
Nauseda praised previous examples of NATO crossing Russia’s “red lines”, such as by green-lighting the supply of Western-made main battle tanks to Ukraine. “The lines exist only in our heads and can be ignored,” he said.
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In response from Russia, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the Baltic states along with Poland appeared ready to do anything to provoke more confrontation. “Probably not thinking about the consequences,” said Peskov as quoted by Russia Today, Wednesday (/2/2023).
“It is sad that the countries that serve as the locomotive of all European processes are not acting to offset that influence,” he said.
Western countries claim to be restraining themselves with military aid to Ukraine to avoid being drawn into a direct confrontation with Russia. However, increasingly sophisticated weapons systems have been supplied to Kiev throughout the conflict.
Moscow believes that the Ukrainian donor has long been a party to a proxy war against Russia. Some Russian officials have warned that the crisis could spill over beyond Ukraine and turn into a nuclear war, if this trend continues.
Lithuania, which does not operate its own fighter jets and relies on other NATO countries for aerial surveillance, has been one of the loudest proponents of arming Ukraine.
Fighter jets and long-range missiles are arguably the next major targets for lobbying against Kiev’s foreign backers after they agreed to supply tanks earlier this month.
Ukrainian Defense Minister Aleksey Reznikov requested the system during a meeting of donors at the US Air Base in Germany two weeks ago, but the request was not granted.
In the long term, Kiev is eyeing as many as 200 modern combat aircraft for its defence. This was conveyed by the spokesman for the national armed forces, Yury Ignat.
“Lockheed Martin’s F-16s are the most likely candidate to replace Soviet-made fighter jets as the backbone of the fleet,” Ignat told Ukrainskaya Pravda when asked about the modernization plans.
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