VILNIUS – No new red lines can be drawn in Europe, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda has said after a phone call with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Thursday.
“The indivisible security of Alliance members is one of NATO’s fundamental operating principles. The Alliance cannot have different security zones with different levels of security where capabilities and exercises necessary to ensure defense would be limited,” he stated.
Nauseda and Stoltenberg discussed the negotiations between the Alliance and Russia as well as the security situation in the region.
During the conversation with Stoltenberg, the Lithuanian president stated that the ongoing diplomatic efforts and talks with Russia in various formats to reduce tensions caused by Russia’s military build-up on the borders with Ukraine should “not undermine the core security principles of the transatlantic area”, the presidential office said in a press release.
The Lithuanian leader emphasized that “we have to continue the Alliance’s adaptation processes, as they are a guarantor of a credible deterrent to threats in the Baltic region”.
Nauseda stressed that a meaningful dialogue with Russia could “only take place on the basis of reciprocity and not in the language of demands and ultimatums, which is unacceptable”.
According to the president, Lithuania, like the Alliance as a whole, “has always been and will continue to be interested in peaceful and predictable relations with all neighbors which respect international law and their commitments and which want to base their dialogue on respect and trust”, the press release said.
On Wednesday, NATO held talks with the Kremlin’s envoys on the situation at Ukraine’s borders, where Russia has amassed more than 100,000 troops.
NATO Secretary General stated after the talks that “there are significant differences between NATO allies and Russia on these issues”.
He said it would be impossible for 30 NATO members to agree to Moscow’s core demands for a new security order in Europe, and in particular added that Russia would have no veto on Ukraine’s right to eventually join the alliance.
President Vladimir Putin’s government last month issued a series of demands for the West to rule out accepting new members like Ukraine, Georgia or Finland on its eastern flanks and demanded limits on allied deployments in former Soviet allies that joined NATO after the Cold War.
Meanwhile, the West defends NATO’s “open-door policy” towards potential future members, whereas Moscow is demanding a cast-iron guarantee that the alliance will not expand further towards its territory.
Before Wednesday, the NATO-Russia council had not met since 2019. NATO and Russia broke off practical cooperation in 2014 after Moscow occupied and annexed the Ukrainian region of Crimea.