Speaker of the Seimas at the Baltic Assembly in Riga: ‘Aid to Ukraine and strengthening of NATO’s Eastern flank are two sides of the same coin’
Press release, 28 October 2022
Photo by Olga Posaškova, Office of the Seimas
Viktorija Čmilytė-Nielsen, Speaker of the Seimas, together with the heads of parliaments of Latvia and Estonia, traditionally participated at the opening of the 41st session of the Baltic Assembly in Riga, Latvia, and highlighted the regional and international importance of cooperation in this format.
‘In the face of the war in Ukraine, parliaments have a vital role to play. Apart from coordination of their efforts in the legislative realm, they are also very well-placed to sustain the determination of our people and voters to never give up. The Kremlin is betting that, come winter, populations will be scared of the rising electricity prices and inflation, fatigued with the war in Ukraine, and diverted from the aggression in Ukraine by other world events. Therefore, I invite you to demonstrate that the Kremlin cannot be more wrong. Many mistakes as it has made in this war, there will be one more,’ Ms Čmilytė-Nielsen said.
According to the Speaker of the Seimas, comprehensive work on the priority objectives would be especially beneficial when it comes to providing Ukraine with advanced air defence systems capable of protecting people and important civilian infrastructure; ensuring that those responsible for Russia’s crimes in Ukraine are brought to justice; supporting the International Criminal Court’s investigation into Russian crimes in Ukraine; and establishing of a Special Criminal Tribunal to Prosecute the Crime of Aggression.
‘There is a need to continue exerting full pressure on Russia without hesitation, as well as to impose new sanctions and properly implement the existing ones. Our urgent and long-term support for Ukraine’s reconstruction is also needed. Last but not least, we should help Ukraine achieve the goals of European and Euro-Atlantic integration as soon as possible,’ Ms Čmilytė-Nielsen said when she outlined the priorities for the Baltic Assembly.
Alongside the efforts to help Ukraine, according to the Speaker of the Seimas, it is necessary to safeguard the security of the Baltic States and strengthen NATO’s eastern flank. Should NATO fail to protect any single member country and any single inch of its territory, this would strike an irreversible blow to the Alliance.
‘I see aid to Ukraine and strengthening of NATO’s eastern flank as two sides of the same coin,’ Ms Čmilytė-Nielsen said.
Another urgent task of the Baltic Assembly, according to the Speaker of the Seimas, lies in the efforts to enhance the integration of the Baltic States.
‘We must accelerate the completion of the long-planned infrastructure projects, including Rail Baltica and the synchronization of the electricity networks. Russia’s aggression against Ukraine clearly shows that there can be no more delay in completing these and other projects ensuring our irreversible integration with Europe. The less connected and dependent we are on Russia, the less possible it will be to even think of turning back time,’ Ms Čmilytė-Nielsen said. ‘Undoubtedly, Russia’s war against Ukraine is a terrible disaster. However, I hope that both the Baltic States and the European Union in general can build on this shock by using it as a new impetus for integration to achieve a more united, stronger and safer future.’
Later in the day, the Speaker of the Seimas attended a tripartite meeting with Jüri Ratas, President of the Riigikogu of the Republic of Estonia, and Ināra Mūrniece, Speaker of the Saeima of the Republic of Latvia.
Ilona Petrovė, Spokesperson for Viktorija Čmilytė-Nielsen, Speaker of the Seimas, tel.+ 370 5 239 6030, mob. + 370 698 42071, e-mail: [email protected], www.lrs.lt