Lithuania ready to deploy troops to aid Ukraine, says PM Šimonytė

Ingrida Šimonytė
Ingrida Šimonytė

Lithuania is ready to deploy its soldiers to Ukraine for a training mission Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė said in a comment to the Financial Times on May 8.

"There hasn't been a request for that yet," Ingrida Šimonytė stated.

Lithuania has parliamentary approval for such action, Šimonytė acknowledged, cautioning that Russia might view it as a "provocation."

Read also: Netherlands to extend troop presence in Lithuania until 2026

"If we just focused on Russia's response, we wouldn't send anything," she remarked.

"Every other week, there's talk of someone getting nuked."

Šimonytė discussed Russia's tactical nuclear weapons training, expressing skepticism about their use due to potential radioactive fallout affecting Russia as well.

"Typically, winds blow from west to east most of the time," she pointed out.

Read also: US not planning to send troops to Ukraine, despite what other Democratic leaders say – White House

Šimonytė highlighted Russia's escalated attacks on Ukrainian civilian infrastructure, including power stations, schools, and hospitals, aimed at triggering a new wave of refugees fleeing Ukraine.

Possible deployment of NATO troops to Ukraine

After a conference on supporting Ukraine held in Paris on Feb. 26, French President Emmanuel Macron said that Ukraine's Western allies would create a coalition to provide Ukrainian Armed Forces with long-range weapons, and that sending Western troops to Ukraine in future should not be ruled out.

However, Poland, the United States, Germany, Czechia, Canada, and the United Kingdom all rejected Macron's proposals.

Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas and Lithuanian Defense Minister Arvydas Anušauskas left the door open for sending troops, specifying that they would be for training missions exclusively.

Dutch Army General Staff Chief, General Onno Eichelsheim, said that “all options should remain open.”

European NATO states have been exploring the prospect of deploying NATO troops to Ukraine for weeks, according to a report by AFP.

Read also: Ukraine on the brink of receiving NATO invitation – Ukrainian PM

French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal explained on Feb. 29 that French troops could participate in the war on the side of Ukraine to protect certain borders, take part in exercises, or support ground air defense. However, he ruled out the direct involvement of French soldiers "directly on the frontline."

NATO foreign ministers agreed to create a special NATO mission to increase support for Ukraine on April 4, Polish Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski said.

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