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Speaker of the Seimas: ‘As we celebrate Lithuania’s path to NATO, let us also have faith that soon Ukraine will join our ranks on an equal footing’

Press release, 28 March 2024 

Photo by Olga Posaškova, Office of the Seimas


On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of Lithuania’s accession to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Viktorija Čmilytė-Nielsen, Speaker of the Seimas, underlined that by joining NATO and the European Union, Lithuania had anchored its rightful place in Europe’s political, security and economic structures. After the 11th of March, 1990, and the 13th of January, 1991, and the withdrawal of the invading Russian army from Lithuania, this was undoubtedly a turning point in the modern history of our country and the Western worldview.


‘Until then, we had often still been assigned to someone else’s zone of interest, with imaginary red lines keeping us away from NATO and EU membership. However, we crossed this Rubicon, and together with the Alliance, we declared to the world that our borders and our interests were inviolable and would be defended,’ Ms Čmilytė-Nielsen said.


According to the Speaker of the Seimas, Lithuania’s place in NATO was also consolidated symbolically by the successful NATO Summit held in Vilnius last year.


‘From the outset, Lithuania has taken an active role in NATO, and we have stood in solidarity with our Allies around the world, participating in various missions. Our commitment to collective security has been unwavering and steadfast, despite the running years, changing governments, and growing new generations. Throughout the past 20 years, Lithuania’s confidence in NATO has always remained high,’ Ms Čmilytė-Nielsen said.


Thanks to its membership of NATO, Lithuania has enjoyed a period of relative stability, allowing it to focus on economic growth and social progress. As a result, our focus has partly shifted away from national defence.


‘A real change in our approach to national defence took place on 24 February 2022. In response to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and the growing threat to security, we have increased our defence spending, reinforced our military forces and started to actively support Ukraine. However, I am certain that much greater defence efforts are needed, and, together as Allies, we have to reaffirm our mutual commitment to collective defence,’ the Speaker of the Seimas underlined.


The Speaker of the Seimas was convinced that Finland’s and Sweden’s membership of NATO had completely shifted the Alliance’s geo-strategic position in the Baltic Sea Region, while the increasing focus on the defence industries and the economic, political, diplomatic and military capabilities of NATO member countries ensured security and stability on NATO’s own territory as well as in the surrounding regions and across the world.


‘Let us hope that NATO’s Anniversary Summit in Washington will be a further step towards a safer, more stable and fairer world. And as we celebrate Lithuania’s path to NATO, let us also have faith that in the future we will celebrate not only our own milestones of NATO membership, but also those of our neighbouring countries. Let us imagine a day when Ukraine will stand alongside other members as a full NATO Ally, for that would be the best proof of our collective commitment to freedom, democracy and security,’ concluded the Speaker of the Seimas.

Photo by Olga Posaškova, Office of the Seimas


Ilona Petrovė, Spokesperson for Viktorija Čmilytė-Nielsen, Speaker of the Seimas, tel. +370 5 209 6030, mob. +370 698 42071, e-mail: [email protected]

   Last updated on 03/29/2024 11:25
   Monika Kutkaitytė