Halyna Hutchins: In her own words
BARRON SHARNIKI, Foreign Minister of Lithuania, on why her country will play an important role in the NATO summit in Brussels later this year:
My country cannot be just a bystander in these times. Our presence will be an effective signal: let’s not play up the tensions that we can’t manage, let’s not overplay the negative.
We cannot afford yet another incident on our border, another tragedy. It is essential that we bring peace to Europe. We look forward to an alliance in which nothing can be ignored, but at the same time, I am realistic. Here we have European values and interests, which we want to safeguard. I also want to pay tribute to the Baltic states for their hospitality and special status. Lithuania does not want the NATO guarantee to change. We are happy with it, but our action speaks louder than words.
There are sectors of our society that have already reached their limits, and they are not going to let up. We are also optimistic about the trade agreement we are negotiating with the EU.
Our main interest is avoiding a conflict. But we have to be cautious. We can not hide behind assurances and clever oratory.
We are giving Russia and the three Baltic states the chance to seek a dialogue, to make accommodations, and negotiate in a more honest way. We hope that the dispute can be addressed without resorting to sanctions. As a sovereign, independent state, we need to build as an independent state the future we want.