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Lithuanian President: 'Red lines' regarding military aid to Ukraine must be crossed
Any self-imposed "red lines" regarding military aid to Ukraine must be crossed to ensure its victory against Russia, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda said in an interview with Spiegel on April 24.
Nauseda's reference to "red lines" arose when speaking about how Germany went from promising only protective helmets and vests to Ukraine to approving the export of Leopard 1 and 2 tanks, adding that "Germany's decisions not only send a positive signal to Ukraine, but also to all other NATO allies."
"It's pretty clear to me that we have to cross all the red lines. Otherwise we lose time. Every day people are killed and tortured. The deportation of children is the order of the day, as is the bombing of infrastructure. In retrospect, we lost time because we hesitated for a long time to make certain decisions," Nauseda said.
The Lithuanian president stressed that Western allies deciding to supply tanks so many weeks into the war came "a very high cost" and that it was imperative to understand Russia was a "very dangerous aggressor who knows no borders."
That's why another "red line" that should be crossed is supplying Ukraine with advanced western-style fighting jets, according to Nauseda.
"Airspace is an important element in this war. And in order for Ukraine to be able to defend itself efficiently, it needs aircraft and more air defense systems. This is important not only for Ukraine, but also for our security," he said.
Critics argue that allies’ refusal to supply F-16, Typhoon, and Dassault fighter jets as well as long-range ATACMS missiles to Ukraine could prevent Kyiv from launching a counteroffensive and liberating the rest of Ukrainian territory. Ukraine’s lack of advanced aircraft and missiles will likely prolong Russia’s war of aggression.
Nauseda went on to say that pushing Ukraine to the negotiating table would allow Russia to "consolidate, pause, and then attack again."
According to Nauseda, Russia "would demand unrealistic concessions. But no one has the right to ask an independent free country to sell its territory for peace. This is unacceptable. Ukraine alone can and must decide that."
The Lithuanian president's words stand in stark contrast with the Bloomberg report on April 18 that French President Emmanuel Macron wants China to help bring Ukraine and Russia to the negotiating table, potentially by summer.
Nauseda also discussed the upcoming NATO summit in Vilnius, saying that it will be "a historically important moment" where the military alliance can show it is "aware of the danger" posed by Russia.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on April 20 while meeting with President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv that NATO membership for Ukraine will be "high on the agenda" at the summit, which is scheduled for July.