In November 2020, Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed Moscow was ready to cooperate with Lithuania based on “principles of mutual respect.” But did Putin signal any tangible intentions, or was it just empty rhetoric?
During the accreditation ceremony of new foreign ambassadors to Russia, including Eitvydas Bajarūnas from Lithuania, Putin said, “our interaction with Lithuania could be more active and multifaceted.”
“We stand ready for cooperation based on principles of neighbourliness and respect to each other and would like to see the same approach by our Lithuanian counterparts,” the Russian president was quoted by the Interfax News Agency.
But his words were aimed at criticising Lithuania, according to Laurynas Jonavičius, a professor at the Institute of International Relations and Political Science (TSPMI) at Vilnius University.
“These words showed one thing – that Lithuania is to blame for the fact that bilateral relations have faltered,” Jonavičius said.
In recent decades, Lithuanian–Russian relations have remained tense, mainly due to the Kremlin’s military aggression in Ukraine and Georgia.
Russia has also imposed sanctions on Lithuania, including an embargo on dairy and meat products. Other Baltic states have also condemned Russia’s foreign policy, which has resulted in unstable bilateral relations.
Bilateral relations further deteriorated after Russia’s annexation of Crimea and the start of its aggression in eastern Ukraine in 2014.
“This state has all the features of international terrorism. Those that send the army and armaments without any signs of identification can only be called [terrorists],” Grybauskaitė said six years ago.
The president had repeatedly called on international alliances to act as a buffer to Russia.
“Russia is a threat not only to Lithuania but to the whole region and to all of Europe.” Grybauskaitė said in an interview with Foreign Policy in 2017.
“It is important that countries like the United States do not leave the global political arena. If that happened, Russia would quickly take its place,” she added.
This text was republished through the partnership between New Eastern Europe and LRT English.
Source: part of the article published by New Eastern Europe, link: https://neweasterneurope.eu/2021/01/07/after-years-of-animosity-is-russia-ready-2-talk-with-lithuania/ Published on January 7, 2021. Please read the complete article on the already indicated link of New Eastern Europe. Republished by Intell News Romania in English on January 7, 2021