Speaker of the Seimas: ‘Kyiv is now the bridge to Europe for Belarus’
Press release, 9 August 2022
Viktorija Čmilytė-Nielsen, Speaker of the Seimas, says that two years ago the people of Lithuania were full of hope for Belarus. Even though there was no illusion that Lukashenko, who had usurped power since 1994 and created an authoritarian regime, would compete in fair and democratic elections, the peaceful pro-democratic protests that engulfed Belarus in August 2020 reminded us of the National revival of Lithuania and the changes that came with it.
‘Unfortunately, so far these aspirations have not been met. Rather on the contrary, the situation of democracy, human rights and freedom has deteriorated dramatically over the past two years, and attacks by the Lukashenko regime have often gone beyond the state borders of Belarus. The forced landing of a Ryanair passenger plane and the artificially induced migration crisis at the eastern border of the European Union have directly affected Lithuania’s national interests,’ says Ms Čmilytė-Nielsen.
In the Speaker’s view, all this pales in comparison to the war in Ukraine. The Russian missiles fired at Ukraine from the territory of Belarus have clearly shown that not only (and not so much) the future of political order in Belarus, but also its statehood is currently at stake.
‘It is actually the Belarusian people that are paying Putin for Lukashenko’s personal financial and political debt. Lithuania cannot remain indifferent in the face of the step-by-step destruction of the sovereignty of Belarus, which is historically and culturally so close to us. Therefore, it is not surprising that our country has become the hub for Belarusian civil society. However, one must realise that Kyiv rather than Vilnius is now the bridge to Europe for Belarus, because it is in Ukraine that the fate of democracy and freedom of the whole region is being decided today. This is why it is crucial that we defend Ukraine’s freedom and democracy together. I hope that in the near future the people of Belarus will follow this path. Zhyvie Belarus! Slava Ukraini! For our freedom and yours!’ – says the Speaker of the Seimas.
Photo by Viktorija Chorna, Office of the Seimas
Ilona Petrovė, Spokesperson for Viktorija Čmilyte-Nielsen, Speaker of the Seimas,
tel. +370 239 6030, mob. +370 698 42 071, e-mail: [email protected]