Baltic PMs call for more military assistance for Ukraine

Baltic prime ministers meeting in Riga on April 22, 2022.
Baltic prime ministers meeting in Riga on April 22, 2022. Source: Läti riigikantselei

The Baltics called for more military assistance for Ukraine, new sanctions against Russia and stronger NATO defense in the region at a press conference on Friday in Riga.

"Peace can be achieved if Ukraine wins the war. However, in order for Ukraine to win the war, some important things need to be ensured. One of them is military assistance from the West, including the provision of heavy weapons," said Latvian Prime Minister Krišjanis Karinš.

Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) said sanctions on Russian oil and gas must be at the heart of the EU's efforts to stop Russia.

All three Baltic states are looking to increase their defense budgets to at least 2.5 percent of GDP, they said.

The prime ministers also discussed their plans for the NATO summit in Madrid later this summer.

"NATO must be ready to immediately deploy division-sized forces to protect each of the Baltic states. This would include our own units, Allied forces stationed on our territory, and Allied forces that can be deployed quickly if necessary," Kallas said.

Ukraine's accession to the EU was also discussed, with the politicians saying the country will pay the highest possible price for admission to the European Union.

Lithuania's Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonyte said: "There is a fight in Ukraine between good and evil, a fight between tyrants and freedom, a fight over how the world and Europe will look into the future. This fight is linked to each of us. Until evil is defeated, we have no right to be tired or doubtful because both our fatigue and doubt would be allies for the aggressor."

A joint statement was also issued by the ministers after the meeting.

"Every life lost is a tragedy.  Abduction, detention, torture, sexual assaults and indiscriminate killings cannot and will not be tolerated and forgotten. We will shoulder international efforts to record the testimonies of Ukrainians in order to document and investigate the war crimes and eventually bring those responsible to justice," they wrote.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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