Russia’s unprovoked aggression against Ukraine is causing enormous human suffering and destruction and is the gravest threat to Euro-Atlantic security in decades.
When Nato meets this week, its approach should be focused on strengthening our deterrence and defence posture in the eastern flank towards a modern Forward Defence.
We need to scale up the multi-domain Allied presence, in particular land troops, which should be boosted to the size of a brigade. We must also ensure we have interoperable combat-ready forces, with timely reinforcements by Allied forces, plus enhanced command-and-control arrangements, strengthened air and missile defence, prepositioning of ammunition, equipment and fuel, and improved infrastructure and military mobility. Transatlantic links and the US presence are crucial.
Russia’s criminal war in Ukraine, started on February 24, is just the latest in Russia’s continued aggression against its neighbours. The attacks of 2008 against Georgia and then 2014 against Ukraine were met with largely symbolic reaction by the international community. A lack of consequences and a sense of impunity has only emboldened the Kremlin to continue its neo-imperial land grab.
This time, the heads of state and government of Nato allies have condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in the strongest possible terms and called on President Putin to stop this war and withdraw all military forces from Ukraine. They also stressed that the Belarusian regime is complicit in Russia’s unprovoked and unjustifiable war and stressed the need to hold both Russia and Belarus to account.
Nato has reached out to Russia consistently and publicly over the past 30 years. Since the end of the Cold War and the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Nato has tried to build a partnership, including via the Nato-Russia Council, established in 2002. However, Russia has shown it is not interested in cooperation and dialogue with Nato. Instead, Russia chose hostilities, threats and aggression.
Gabrielius Landsbergis is the foreign minister of Lithuania