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Polish, Lithuanian defence ministers reaffirm support for Ukraine

30.05.2023 23:00
Poland’s defence minister has met with his Lithuanian counterpart and the two politicians reiterated their countries’ continued support for war-torn Ukraine, and their “unanimous resolve" to counter Russia’s "attempts to revive its empire," according to officials.
Polish Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak (right) and Lithuanias Defence Minister Arvydas Anuauskas (left) meet in Warsaw on Tuesday, May 30, 2023.
Polish Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak (right) and Lithuania's Defence Minister Arvydas Anušauskas (left) meet in Warsaw on Tuesday, May 30, 2023. PAP/Marcin Obara

Poland’s Mariusz Błaszczak and Lithuania’s Arvydas Anušauskas held talks in Warsaw on Tuesday, Polish state news agency PAP reported. 

They met as part of the 4th Polish-Lithuanian Council of Defense Ministers.

Support for Ukraine, opposition to Russia’s imperial plans

The two politicians discussed support for Ukraine’s war effort against the Russian invasion, in addition to Polish-Lithuanian military cooperation, joint measures to strengthen NATO’s policy of defence and deterrence, and preparations for the Western military alliance’s July summit in Vilnius, according to officials.

At a joint news conference afterwards, Poland’s Błaszczak said that he and Anušauskas discussed "the support that our two countries are providing to Ukraine.” 

He added: “We are well aware of the threats. We are unanimous when it comes to opposing President Vladimir Putin’s attempts to rebuild the Russian empire.”

Both politicians told reporters that Poland and Lithuania “share the same view of the threat from Russia" and declared "continued support for Ukraine in its fight against the Russian invasion," the PAP news agency reported.

Błaszczak, who is also a Polish deputy prime minister, stated: “When it comes to bilateral cooperation with Lithuania, Poland is mainly interested in defence and deterrence in the northeastern part of our country, and in ensuring the security of the Suwałki Corridor, which links our countries.”

He added: “However, we are also interested in working together with Lithuania in other formats.”

Ukraine should get action plan for NATO membership at Vilnius summit: Lithuanian defence minister 

Meanwhile, Lithuania’s Anušauskas told reporters that it was “extremely important” that Ukraine be given a plan of action for membership of NATO during the alliance’s Vilnius summit in July. 

Such a measure, called the Membership Action Plan (MAP), is a programme of “advice, assistance and practical support” designed to help a candidate country meet the political, economic, defence and legal requirements of joining NATO, according to officials. 

The Lithuanian defence minister also said that during the Vilnius summit, his country would push for “practical solutions for bolstering the defences of the eastern part of NATO.”

Anušauskas called on NATO allies to adopt an “ambitious” new defence spending target of 2.5 percent of GDP, which is Lithuania’s current level of defence expenditures, the PAP news agency reported.

The alliance’s current defence spending target is 2 percent of GDP; meanwhile, Poland has pledged to spend 4 percent of GDP on defence this year, amid Russia’s ongoing invasion of neighbouring Ukraine, according to officials.

Anušauskas said Poland and Lithuania “must cooperate both in the bilateral format and using the potential of NATO and the European Union, to develop a long-term and decisive response to threats posed by Russia.”

He stressed the need to strengthen NATO’s “enhanced forward presence” on its eastern flank.

The Lithuanian defence minister said: “Long-term deterrence against Russia and response to aggression require an increase in combat capabilities on NATO's eastern flank. The strengthening of the armed forces by Poland is a model for other Allied countries to follow.”

Błaszczak and Anušauskas confirmed to reporters that Lithuania was buying Grom man-portable air-defence systems from Poland.

Anušauskas said his country had already ordered more than EUR 20 million worth of these weapons, the PAP news agency reported.

Tuesday was day 461 of Russia’s war on Ukraine.


Source: PAP, gov.pl, NATO