Lithuania ready to deliver lethal weapons to Ukraine
In the wake of Russia’s massive military buildup on Ukraine’s border, Lithuania is ready to provide Ukraine with lethal weapons, Lithuanian Defense Minister Arvydas Anušauskas said at a joint press conference with his German counterpart Christine Lambrecht on Dec. 19.
Anušauskas said that “Ukraine needs to be supported by all possible means,” Lithuanian national broadcaster LRT reported.
“Lithuania is ready to stand by Ukraine and provide it with lethal weapons,” Anušauskas said.
The defense minister did not specify which weapons would be provided, and said that there were multiple parties involved in that discussion.
“I’m not going to give a direct answer – this is a matter of a multilateral agreement, involving not only the weapons provider and receiver, but also the weapon producer-supplier,” Anušauskas said.
Russia began massing troops on the Russian-Ukrainian border in late November.
Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov reported to Ukraine’s parliament on the military situation on Dec. 3, stating that Russia had deployed around 100,000 troops near the Ukrainian border and in the Russian-occupied parts of Ukraine.
According to the head of Ukraine’s Defense Intelligence Agency, General Kyrylo Budanov, Russia’s military build-up will likely reach its peak in late January next year. Various media outlets have speculated that a Russian invasion of Ukraine might occur in early 2022, and would involve about 200,000 Russian troops.
The Russian government has not responded to claims it is planning an invasion, describing the military buildup as a domestic matter. At the same time, the Kremlin has claimed that it expects potential “provocations” from the Ukrainian side, alleging Kyiv plans to regain control of the Russian-occupied portions of the country by force.
A number of U.S. and EU officials have voiced concerns over the situation on Ukraine’s eastern border, and European leaders have been discussing potential deterrents to Russian aggression.
In the meantime, Russia has released a set of demands – one of which urges the North Atlantic Treaty Organization NATO to deny Ukraine membership of the military alliance.
The Russian Foreign Ministry on Dec. 10 declared that Ukraine’s growing ties to NATO could pose a threat to peace in Europe in the future, and called on NATO to reverse its 2008 decision that set Ukraine and Georgia on the path to NATO membership.
U.S. lawmakers have in turn stated that the demands are unacceptable, and accused Russia for fomenting a “pretext for war.”
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