Andrius Kubilius. Differences In The West: Do You Or Do You Not Believe That Russia Can Become A Democracy In The Future?

Andrius Kubilius, former PM, MEP, initiator of  the “United for Ukraine” network

When we observe and analyse the West’s support for Ukraine, we sometimes see a lot of hesitation, questionable arguments and indecision. I believe that much of this behaviour by the West is linked to its attitude towards Russia. There is a fundamental difference between those who believe and those who do not believe that Russia can become a democracy. I propose to look at the geopolitical implications of this difference in Western attitudes:



– you are not afraid of what will happen after Putin’s regime collapses, because you believe that Russia will then start to evolve towards democracy;

– you are not afraid of a crushing military victory in Ukraine because you are not afraid of what will happen when after such a victory Putin’s regime collapses;

– you are not afraid to proclaim that the aim of the West is to achieve the unconditional defeat of Russia, because you are not afraid of the collapse of Putin’s regime and its fascist ‘Novorossiya’ philosophy, because that is what you are deliberately aiming for;

– you are not afraid of supplying Ukraine with Western weapons of a quantity and quality that would guarantee that Ukraine would achieve a crushing victory in the near future, followed by the collapse of the Putin regime;

– you are not afraid that Ukraine will soon be invited to join NATO, even if Putin is vociferously opposed, because you believe that such an invitation will help Russia’s transition to democracy;

– you do not fear that Ukraine’s rapid integration into the EU, thus building on Ukraine’s success, could become dangerous for the Putin regime, as it could inspire Russian citizens to demand same changes in Russia, which would allow Russia to follow Ukraine’s example in creating a normal life in Russia itself;

– you are convinced that the West’s biggest geopolitical mistake in recent decades has been to leave Ukraine for decades in a grey area of geopolitical security, with no real prospect of becoming an integral part of the West (NATO, EU), and that this is what has led Putin to think that the West has left Ukraine in the zone of Russia’s interests, and that Putin may even take military action against Ukraine;

– you do not negotiate with Putin before and during the war on alleged mutual restrictions on hostilities, while pledging to do everything possible to preserve “Putin’s face” and thus the regime itself;

– you are not pressing Ukraine to enter into peace talks with Putin as soon as possible (on Putin’s terms), because you are not afraid of what will happen to the Putin regime later on if the war, which has been disastrous for Putin, lasts a little longer and ends with a crushing Ukrainian victory;

– you are a real supporter of the Russian opposition, both in Russia and in exile, because you genuinely believe that Russia’s transformation and evolution towards democracy can indeed happen, and that it is necessary not only for Russia itself but also for the West, because this is the only way that a sustainable peace can be created on the continent of Europe once the main threat to that peace, i.e., authoritarian Russia, is no longer there.

– You are not a naive victim of Putin’s long-standing strategy of frightening and convincing the West that the Russian nation is oriental, always authoritarian and aggressive, and not ready for democracy, because you believe that both Russians and Belarusians are capable of governing themselves democratically, in the same way as not only the Ukrainians, but also the Mongolians and the Chinese in Taiwan are doing so very successfully nowadays.



– you are afraid of what will happen after Putin’s regime collapses, because you don’t believe that Russia will evolve towards democracy after that;

– you are afraid of a crushing military victory in Ukraine because you are afraid of what will happen after such a victory when Putin’s regime collapses – maybe some prigozhin will take over the Kremlin instead of Putin, or maybe Russia will fall into a bloody chaos of internecine warfare and some terrorists will take control of the nuclear weapons;

– you are afraid to declare that the West’s goal in this war is to achieve Russia’s unconditional defeat, because you fear the collapse of the Putin regime, so you limit yourself to loud statements that you will support Ukraine “whatever it takes” and that “only Ukraine will set the terms of the peace”, but at the same time you are silently increasing the political pressure on Ukraine to quickly come to the negotiating table with Putin to negotiate a cease-fire and a peace on terms dictated by Putin;

– you are afraid to supply Ukraine with the quantity and quality of Western weapons that would guarantee a crushing victory for Ukraine in the near future, because you are afraid that such a victory would lead to the collapse of the Putin regime;

– you are afraid that inviting Ukraine to join NATO in the near future would be seen in Russia as a huge defeat for the Kremlin and might even lead to the collapse of the Putin regime;

– you fear even Ukraine’s integration into the EU, because you believe that any integration of Ukraine into the West, thus building on Ukraine’s success, could “provoke” Putin; you do not believe that the success of a democratic Ukraine can inspire Russian citizens to seek the same democratic changes in Russia, because you do not believe that Russia can become democratic;

– you are convinced that Ukraine must continue to be left in a grey area of geopolitical security, with no real chance of becoming an integral part of the West (NATO, EU), because you believe that there is no need to provoke and be angry with Putin, since the West supposedly needs his partnership in the fight against China’s geo-political dominance;

– you seek to negotiate and have negotiated informally with Putin before and during the war on alleged mutual restraints in hostilities, pledging yourselves to do your utmost to preserve “Putin’s face”;

– you are pressing Ukraine (including by stopping the supply of necessary weapons) to enter into peace talks with Putin as soon as possible (on Putin’s terms), because you are afraid of what will happen to the Putin regime later on if the war, which has been disastrous for Putin, lasts a little longer;

– you do not really support the Russian opposition and its activities, either in Russia or in exile, because you do not believe that Russia’s transformation and evolution towards democracy can really happen; you therefore limit yourself to the standard (but empty) statements of support for the opposition and protests against human rights violations; and you continue to think that in relations with Russia it is more important to hold to the “Putin-first!” rather than “Democracy in Russia – first!” principle;

– you are a victim of Putin’s long-standing strategy to convince the West that the Russian nation is oriental, always authoritarian and aggressive, and not ready for democracy; you have succumbed to Putin’s propaganda, or to nuclear blackmail, or perhaps to the temptation of cheap gas or expensive yachts;


It is because of such fundamental differences and their implications for Western thinking and policy that all of us who care about Ukraine, together with Russia’s democratic opposition, need to do our utmost to convince the West that Russia, too, after losing the war in Ukraine and the collapse of Putin’s regime, can become democratic.


Andrius Kubilius. Russia’s war against Ukraine: what would F.D.Roosevelt and Winston Churchill say about the West’s aims in this war?

Andrius Kubilius, former PM, MEP, initiator of  the “United for Ukraine” network

(The Lithuanian version of the article was published on 17.08.2023)

I wrote earlier that the West still does not see Russia’s war against Ukraine as “its war”, as “our war”. Support is being given to Ukraine, but the new-quality weapons are only reaching Ukraine after a long period of hesitation by the West, after fears about how Putin will see it, after strange connections between its own actions – German Chancellor Scholz has promised to start supplying German long-range Taurus missiles only if US President Biden agrees to start supplying ATACMS missiles. For his part, Biden finally announced, after much hesitation, that the US will start training Ukrainian pilots to fly F-16 fighter jets and they will become real pilots, but only in July 2024. This is apparently a good thing, but at the same time it is reported that only 6 Ukrainian pilots have been accepted for such training. Six. When maybe 60 or 100 are needed.

Why is Western support so lukewarm, slow and delayed?

I am convinced that it is because the West has not clearly, unequivocally and publicly defined its own objective in this war.

Ukraine’s objectives are clear enough: to defend its freedom, to liberate its occupied territories and to do everything possible to ensure that Russia does not dare to attack Ukraine again in future.

The West’s objectives may be the same as Ukraine’s, they may be greater than Ukraine’s (pursuing not only military but also geopolitical objectives: the geopolitical transformation of the eastern region of Europe (including Russia and Belarus) towards democracy, thus eliminating the very source of the threat), but they may also be lesser than Ukraine’s objectives, the West’s primary concern being that Russia, if it is defeated, should not be totally weakened and engulfed in complete, allegedly very dangerous chaos.

Unfortunately, so far, the West has avoided defining its own independent objectives in this war and has limited itself to nice-sounding but very lukewarm phrases: that the West will be with Ukraine for “as long as it takes”; that only Ukraine will decide when peace is possible; but always remembering to emphasise that NATO (i.e. the West) is not a part of this war (“we are not part of this conflict”). And for general reassurance, the beautiful (but empty) diplomatic formulation is repeated – “nothing about Ukraine without Ukraine itself”.

It would seem that the West is demonstrating its full solidarity and loyalty to Ukraine with such formulations. As long as it takes… You might think that this loyalty declared by the West may be too unambitious, too slow and sometimes not effective enough, but it is still there, and it sounds nice.

But just sounding nice is not enough. The impression is that the West itself does not dare to say for itself what it wants in this war: it does not dare to say that it wants, and will want, Ukraine to liberate all its territory and Russia to lose this war. The West is supposedly subordinating its own objectives in this war to those of Ukraine, and this looks very much like solidarity. However, it also sounds like an effort by the West to preserve for itself the possibility of exerting covert or overt pressure on Ukraine to lower its objectives in this war and, for example, to stop seeking the liberation of its entire territory. Because such a liberation would be very painful for Putin. And the West is afraid of the consequences for Russia. Therefore, by not formulating its own objectives in this war, the West is leaving itself open to pressure Ukraine to rethink its objectives in this war. It is also possible to start putting conditions on the supply of arms. And when Ukraine, under pressure from the West, is forced to reduce its objectives in this war, the West will be ready to publicly and loudly support Ukraine, because the West is always with Ukraine whatever it takes.

One could disregard the possibility of such scenarios, being confident that it would never happen. However, seeing how difficult it is for Ukraine to regain control of its territories, and following the international media and the deliberations of Western experts, it is possible to predict that a new wave of pressure on Ukraine to “make peace and start negotiations” will start in the autumn. Because the war is supposedly unwinnable for Ukraine. And it can be predicted that this new wave of “peace” will involve not only the traditional “peace on any terms” harbingers – Africa, China, Brazil – but also a part of the West.

The greatest danger in this possible “peace (on Putin’s terms)” scenario, which is unacceptable neither to Ukraine nor to us, is that part of the official and unofficial Washington may be actively involved in all of this (and already seems to be).

The well-known Russian opposition expert A.Piontkovsky has recently been convincingly written about such scenarios of the Washington’s possible involvement in the “peace wave” (here and here). A.Piontkovsky is himself currently living in Washington and is closely following Washington’s official and unofficial actions these days and its plans for such actions. Piontkovsky examines in detail the activities of the “Not-defeated Russia” group, to which Piontkovsky attributes W.Burns (former US Ambassador to Russia, now Director of the CIA, recently promoted to the level of Cabinet Member, who is in regular contact with Russian Intelligence Chief Sergei Naryshkin), J.Sullivan (J.Biden’s National Security Adviser), T.Graham (former Special Adviser to President Obama and Director of Russian Affairs at the National Security Council in 2004-2007).

One would think that these are just fabrications and conspiracy theories by Mr. Piontkovsky, a well-known Putin critic. However, what makes one take Piontkovsky’s observations and warnings seriously is the fact that Piontkovsky is not so much giving his own thoughts as he is retelling and commenting on a recent detailed review published in the Newsweek magazine on the CIA’s (and Burns’ own) activities in the Ukrainian war, both now and before the war. Reading the text of the article and the numerous testimonies and analyses quoted from the CIA itself, one gets the impression that the CIA itself had a vested interest in the appearance of such a text.

The most interesting thing in the publication itself is the testimony of a CIA official about Burns’ visit to Moscow in November 2021 (before the Russian invasion of Ukraine), where he met with Naryshkin and had a phone conversation with V.Putin. They talked about Putin’s threats of war against Ukraine. And it turns out that both sides agreed on how that war should be conducted and what both sides would do and what they would do. Here is Newsweek’s account of the visit and the talks:

“In some ironic ways though, the meeting was highly successful,” says the second senior intelligence official, who was briefed on it. Even though Russia invaded, the two countries were able to accept tried and true rules of the road. The United States would not fight directly nor seek regime change, the Biden administration pledged. Russia would limit its assault to Ukraine and act in accordance with unstated but well-understood guidelines for secret operations.”

The position of the US administration and the CIA as set out in this Newsweek article is summarised even more clearly in the publication on the Italian nova.news website. This article summarises the content of the Newsweek article in the following passage:

“In January 2022, a month before the Russian invasion, the CIA would have acted as an intermediary between Washington and Moscow to establish a series of shared “rules”: during an already known visit to the Kremlin by the director of the agency, William Burns, Russia pledged not to extend the conflict beyond the borders of Ukraine and to avoid the use of atomic weapons; in return, President Joe Biden’s administration would ensure that Kiev would “would not take any action that could directly threaten Russia or the survival of the Russian state”. Based on the agreements between Washington and Moscow, it would be up to the United States to ensure compliance with these commitments.”

Such agreements between Washington and Moscow on the course of the future war against Ukraine sound strange, to say the least. It seems that Putin has managed to extract from Washington almost a tacit “blessing” for his aggressive war, on condition that the Kremlin abides by certain limitations in this war. And Washington has additionally committed itself to abide by the restrictions as well. And also to influence Ukraine: what it can and cannot do in this war.

In the Munich Agreement of 30 September 1938, Hitler (together with Mussolini) also undertook to take from Czechoslovakia only the German-populated Sudetenland and to guarantee the security of the new borders of Czechoslovakia (without the Sudetenland), while the West (Chamberlain and Daladier) not only blessed Hitler’s action, but also pledged to convince the Czechoslovakian leadership to not resist the implementation of such an agreement of the “Great Ones”. The Czechoslovak leadership had no choice but to accept such an agreement and the security guarantees of all the participants in the agreement for its new borders. As is well known, Hitler had already occupied the entire territory of Czechoslovakia in March 1939.

I do not want to use the same clichéd comparisons with the Munich Agreement to talk about the West again, but they are a comparison that naturally come to one’s mind. The conclusion is that it is not only hopeless but also morally very slippery to negotiate with an aggressor about the need to limit its military aggression in some way, because the aggressor thereby creates the impression that its actions are blessed by the “great” democrats in the West.

Today, the fundamental question is: why, after all, does the West succumb to the seemingly hopelessly naïve temptation to negotiate with the aggressor on the mutual rules to be observed in such aggression?

Newsweek quotes a US intelligence official as saying that the US simply fears that Russia might escalate its war effort if it sees that US support for Ukraine goes well beyond the limits previously discussed with Russia:

“Don’t underestimate the Biden administration’s priority to keep Americans out of harm’s way and reassure Russia that it doesn’t need to escalate,” the senior intelligence officer says.”

Another reason for this cautious US stance can be explained by what has emerged from expert publications on informal conversations this year between former Obama officials, now in high-level expert positions, and the Kremlin’s leadership, including Lavrov himself. According to NBC, these conversations with Lavrov included Richard Haass, a former diplomat and outgoing chairman of the renowned expert Council on Foreign Relations, as well as Charles Kupchan, a European expert, and Thomas Graham, a Russia expert, both former White House and State Department officials (under Obama), and now associates of the same expert Council on Foreign Relations. All three are also known as important US opinion-makers, influencing the Biden administration, often writing about the war, about Ukraine, Russia and US objectives in this war.

What they discussed with Lavrov is best summed up in the words of one of them, quoted by The Moscow Times:

“An attempt to isolate and cripple Russia to the point of humiliation or collapse would make negotiating almost impossible — we are already seeing this in the reticence from Moscow officials,” he said.

“In fact, we emphasized that the U.S. needs, and will continue to need, a strong enough Russia to create stability along its periphery. The U.S. wants a Russia with strategic autonomy in order for the U.S. to advance diplomatic opportunities in Central Asia. We in the U.S. have to recognize that total victory in Europe could harm our interests in other areas of the world.

“Russian power,” he concluded, “is not necessarily a bad thing.”

Thus, at least part of Washington’s influential political community simply does not want a Russian military smashing because it would hamper the much sought-after “peace” talks. And peace talks, they believe, are necessary because they are the only way to preserve Russian power. Because Washington supposedly needs such power too. This is how the West’s objective in this war is understood by those in Washington who are influential and whom Mr Piontkovsky aptly called the “Not-defeated Russia” group.

There are, of course, those in Washington who think differently. And they have a major influence on both President Biden’s administration and public opinion. They support Ukraine’s victory and Russia’s defeat unconditionally and are not afraid of the supposed threat of such a Russian defeat.

However, ambiguities in the official position of the United States remain quite numerous. Far too many to be able to take it calmly and fold one’s arms and just hope that, in the end, America will still do the wise thing. Despite the fact that elections are approaching. While the United States is simultaneously claiming that it supports Ukraine’s victory (whatever it takes), and at the same time is foolishly worrying about how to make Russia feel that it has not lost the war, we are all left in the dangerous limbo of the “Washington fog”.

It is worth remembering that at the NATO Vilnius Summit, the US was the main and almost the only participant who was categorically opposed to the Summit formally inviting Ukraine to join NATO. No clear reasons were given. Everyone else did not dare to oppose this US position. The consequence of this uncertainty in Washington’s thinking is that these days a senior NATO official (the head of the NATO Secretary-General’s cabinet) has already announced that Ukraine could expect to become a NATO member if it were to abandon its ambition to liberate all the occupied territories and leave them at Russia’s disposal. I have been in politics long enough to no longer believe in the coincidence of such phrases being uttered by such high-ranking officials. This is usually an informal but deliberate way of probing and trying to influence public opinion. The Ukrainians have reacted very harshly to such talk. We do not know how NATO members, including Lithuania, are reacting to such statements by a NATO official.

That is what is most frightening. The fog in Washington’s thinking can suck in everyone, including Ukraine’s strongest supporters in the West, including Lithuania. And that is because no one in the West has so far dared to ask a clear question: what is the ultimate goal of the West in this war? Declarations of solidarity with Ukraine are no longer enough: you cannot simultaneously declare that you support Ukraine’s victory and be afraid to say that you will seek a clear defeat for Russia.

This ambiguity in the Western thinking is becoming dangerous not only for Ukraine but for the West as a whole. Because the West must be concerned not only about how the war can be brought to a speedy conclusion with a Ukrainian victory, but also about what a post-war peace on the European continent will look like. Putin who does not lose the war will remain the greatest threat to the security of the entire European continent. “The Munich Peace” lasted only 6 months. How long the “Putin peace” would last is anyone’s guess.

The failure of the Munich “peace agreement” was a good lesson for the Western political leaders of the time. The conclusions eventually drawn by the leaders of the war against Hitler (US President Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Churchill) after Munich could be a good example for the present-day Western leaders.

It is worth remembering that in January 1943, at the Casablanca Conference, Roosevelt and Churchill, having invited the leader of the undefeated France, General de Gaulle, to assist them (in the absence of Stalin), adopted a declaration in which they defined clearly and unequivocally the purpose of their participation in the war against Hitler. The stated objective left no ambiguity: the members of the Alliance would seek Hitler’s unconditional surrender; there would be no separatist negotiations with Hitler; and there would be no negotiations with Hitler “for peace and a ceasefire” – only Hitler’s unconditional surrender was the objective of the war and the definition of victory.

The Allies were united in this position until the end of the war.

Why they did so was made very clear in Casablanca by Roosevelt himself: the only way to ensure a lasting sustainable peace after the war was to pursue a policy of unconditional surrender, while the ceasefire negotiations would only bring about a temporary cessation of hostilities (but would not guarantee a lasting peace after the war). An unconditional surrender clause would encourage both the German military and the wider German public to start to reject the war. If the Alliance members succeeded in weakening the foundations of support for Hitler within Germany, thereby weakening the motivation and morale of the army itself, it would only be a matter of time before Hitler was finally crushed. President Roosevelt stressed in Casablanca that the West’s objective of Hitler’s unconditional surrender was not at all about smashing German society, but only about smashing the prevailing Nazi philosophy in Germany, the thinking that is based on the conquest of other nations and the subjugation of others (one can read about it here and here).

History has shown that the clear war objectives of Roosevelt and Churchill – only the unconditional surrender of Hitler – have proved to be completely correct. It allowed the birth of a new Germany after the war, which said goodbye to the Nazi philosophy that had been crushed in the war. A lasting peace was thus established in the western part of the European continent. Germany, for a long time the greatest threat to European security, was reborn as a stable democracy after the unconditional surrender of Germany, becoming the locomotive for the peaceful unification of Western Europe.

I could confidently expect that, in response to the rhetorical question posed in the title of the text, how Roosevelt and Churchill would today formulate the West’s objective in the Ukrainian war against Russian aggression, their answer would be as unambiguous as it was in Casablanca: the unconditional defeat of Russia. For only in this way can the criminal “Novorossiya” philosophy that still prevails in Russia be crushed, and this is what is needed for lasting peace on the European continent.

Putin’s war against Ukraine is, of course, different from the World War II that Hitler had caused. Although the difference is not very great – the only significant difference is that Hitler did not have nuclear weapons, whereas Putin does. And also the fact that the West is not going to occupy Russia, whereas Germany was occupied.

However, these differences only add to the need for the West to clearly define its objective in this war today. It is clear that the only way for the West to remain consistent, not only in its concern for Ukraine, but also in its concern for a post-war, lasting peace on the European continent, is for it to repeat the words spoken in Casablanca today: The West’s goal in this war is the unconditional defeat of Russia, through the liberation of all the occupied territories of Ukraine. Russia can withdraw from these territories itself, or they will be liberated with the help of Taurus and ATACMS missiles and F-16 fighter jets. Such a definition of the West’s objective in this war would be a first step towards a much broader Western strategy of how a fundamental geopolitical transformation can be achieved in the East of Europe (Russia and Belarus), returning these countries to the path of democracy. Because everything in such a reconstruction starts with a Ukrainian victory. And, at the same time, it starts with the unconditional defeat of the current Russia.

Such a Western position does not require the miraculous resurrection of either Roosevelt or Churchill. The US presidential election campaign is a good opportunity for one of the candidates to make this point loudly, and therefore to win the full support of all Ukraine’s friends, both in the world at large and among American voters, in Chicago, California or New York, and everywhere else where Lithuania once had unequivocal support for the recognition of its Independence.

Russia and the Kremlin will, as always, try to participate in the US presidential elections and will pin a lot of hopes on the possible outcome of the elections. Lithuania and the whole of Central Europe can remain mere observers and “sofa commentators” in these elections, or we can set ourselves the goal of working together with the US electorate to ensure that Russia loses the US Presidential election unconditionally.

To do this, we must not be afraid to state loudly and boldly that the West’s goal in this war must be Russia’s unconditional defeat; we must be able to mobilise Western sympathisers who share this view; and we must not be afraid to appeal to the US electorate, whether it be in New Hampshire, in Santa Monica or Arizona. And everywhere else.

After all, this is our war too, and Russia must lose it unconditionally! What we need from the US is not just ATACMS and F-16s, but a clear statement of the West’s purpose in this war. America is certainly capable of repeating what Roosevelt and Churchill once did.


Andrius Kubilius. Western Reality and Our Responsibility

Andrius Kubilius, former PM, MEP, initiator of  the “United for Ukraine” network

(The Lithuanian version of the article was published on 11.08.2023)


Immediately after Putin launched Russia’s war against Ukraine in 2022, it seemed that the West had truly woken up from its geopolitical lethargy and embarked on a decisive strategy not only to help Ukraine defend itself, but also to stop Russia’s aggressive, authoritarian, kleptocratic Putin regime.

However, a year and a half after the outbreak of the war, and especially after the NATO Vilnius Summit, it is becoming increasingly clear that the West may have woken up, but it has still not got out of the comfortable bed of the “lazy and self-satisfied West”. The Western formula that NATO is not involved in the war, that it is only the Ukraine’s war and not the West’s war against the aggressor Russia, is increasingly becoming a clear symbol of the West’s desire to preserve the military and geo-political status quo in Ukrainian affairs. At least there is no sign of a Western willingness to seek decisive geopolitical change on the European continent or to invest seriously in a decisive military defeat for Putin.

It increasingly seems that the West is satisfied with, if not a quick peace with Putin (which only benefits Putin), then at least with a long war that debilitates Russia (whatever is he cost of this to Ukraine), without investing in a quick Ukrainian victory. Meanwhile, the West does not dare to proclaim its ambition to uncompromisingly crush the Putin regime. What is more, the West is unwilling, even geopolitically, to open the door to Ukraine in the near future (NATO membership), because this could (according to the West) provoke a new wave of Putin’s aggression. Even the prospects for membership of the European Union remain vague, despite the granted candidate status and even the possible decision at the end of this year to open negotiations, as fears are becoming louder and louder that Ukraine’s EU membership  could allegedly pose a number of challenges to the further functioning of the European Union’s institutions or the Single Market itself.

It is time to take stock of this emerging new “Western reality” so that we can not only predict possible future scenarios, but also have a proper understanding of the strategic responsibility that we, Lithuania, already have as an integral part of the West.

So far, we have mostly been sailing in the geopolitical fairway drawn by the “big” Western capitals, declaring solidarity with Ukraine along with all other Western partners, handing over military equipment and ammunition from our warehouses that are no longer used, but limiting our strategic geopolitical security aspirations exclusively to the individual security needs of Lithuania (e.g., deployment of the German brigade in Lithuania), although our security depends much more on whether Ukraine manages to defend itself, than on the timing of the deployment of the German brigade in Lithuania.

Unfortunately, it seems that, for us too, Ukraine’s war for its freedom has not yet become “our war”. For it is not enough to show that it is also our war to have Ukrainian flags in Vilnius, or to have nice statements or gestures of political solidarity, or to have civil society charity campaigns, or to know that we are not asking Ukrainians to thank us. This requires that we ourselves have a clear and overarching strategy for “our war for Ukraine”: how we are engaged in this war, what we are trying to achieve, and what resources we are using to do so. And this must be, first and foremost, our geopolitical strategy, from which our clear military strategy for the next decade would flow. We need to be aware of our role in this war – we are not the biggest military power that can alone determine military outcomes in our region, but we can be influential enough to propose strategic geopolitical initiatives and ideas to transform our region into a much safer space, and to bring together like-minded people from our region and from the much broader Western community to do so together.

This is the kind of activity that I miss most in today’s reality.

Because, exactly,  what the West is most lacking today is a clear long-term geopolitical strategy that includes not only Ukraine but also Russia and Belarus. This must be emphasised very clearly: as long as the West does not have a strategy for Russia, it will wander around with regard to the issue of Ukraine. At the moment, the West is afraid of the consequences of the Ukrainian victory for Russia’s further development, afraid that Putin will be replaced by some prigozhin (because the West has no strategy to help Russia’s democratic transformation, since it is afraid to talk about the regime change in Russia), and so the West’s military support for Ukraine remains lukewarm (because the West is afraid that, in the event of a decisive support, Putin will once again declare that it was NATO that attacked Russia, and not Russia that attacked Ukraine). The West lacks the leadership, the will and the capacity to see the importance of the “Ukraine factor” for the overall long-term geopolitical transformation of the eastern part of the European continent, including the potential transformation of Russia and Belarus themselves. Because there is no faith in the prospects for democracy in these countries: the West sees Putin and Lukashenko as the eternal leaders of their countries, and all the alternatives of different prigozhins only make them more frightening. Therefore, the narrative that still dominates all Western deliberations on Ukraine is how Putin will react to one or another Western action on the “Ukrainian front”, not how such or other long-term Western action will help to bring down the Putin regime.

It is this deficit, flaw or weakness in Western strategic geopolitical thinking that must be our main geopolitical target. And this requires, first of all, that we have our own vision of what kind of  Western strategy is absolutely necessary and that we are able to rally our fellow citizens around this vision of Western strategy, both in Europe and across the Atlantic.

But in order to understand why such a Western strategy is absolutely necessary, and why we need to engage in it, we first need to identify the basic elements (which may turn out to be bleak) of the “Western reality” of the last year-and-a-half period, so that we can understand what lies ahead of us in the long term if we are not able to respond to this reality strategically already today:

– The war is hard, and with the kind of Western military support that Ukraine is currently receiving, it may become increasingly difficult to expect Ukraine to achieve a crushing victory over Russia any time soon. This is not Ukraine’s fault or proof of its lack of military capability. It is a consequence of the West’s inability to make up its mind that this is our war too. The West is afraid of the consequences of Ukraine’s victory over Russia for Russia itself, because it has no coherent strategy towards Russia. As long as the West is afraid of the Ukrainian victory over Russia, it will not give Ukraine the weapons it needs to achieve such a victory. By hiding the root cause of its political ineptitude, the West increasingly wants proof of Ukraine’s gratitude (which proves that for the West it is only “Ukraine’s war” and not “our war”) and less and less talks about the West’s gratitude to Ukraine. In this context, Ukraine will come under increasing pressure from the West to end “its war” through peace talks with Putin and on Putin’s terms. And without any Tribunals.

– The prospects for NATO membership or Western security guarantees for Ukraine are even more vague after the Vilnius Summit, because the Vilnius Summit was limited to completely superficial formulations, which demonstrate that the big capitals of the  West does not consider the issue of security guarantees for Ukraine to be serious, important or timely. At least for now. The reason is the same: Western leaders still quietly think that Putin has a veto over who in Russia’s neighbourhood can and cannot become a NATO member. Because Putin has a nuclear arsenal to blackmail the West with. Western policy on Ukraine remains subordinate to the Western policy towards Russia, and the West still does not have such a policy towards Russia. They did not have it before, because they were dependent on Russian gas; they do not have it now because they are afraid of Putin’s nuclear blackmail. And they are afraid of what will happen to Russia if Putin is gone. Until the West has an adequate long-term policy towards Russia, based not on Putin first!, but on Democracy in Russia first! doctrine, the West will not have an adequate policy towards Ukraine. Conversely, as long as the West does not have a comprehensive and adequate policy towards Ukraine (weapons, reconstruction, NATO and EU membership), the West will not have an adequate policy towards Russia, because the future of democracy in Russia and Belarus depend on the effectiveness of the West’s policy towards Ukraine.

– It is still difficult to answer whether the West is really committed to building the foundations for Ukraine’s future economic and social success over the next decade, doing everything possible to ensure that Ukraine becomes a member of the European Union and is fully integrated into the EU’s Single Market within that decade. While we can be pleased that the European Union had the political will to grant candidate status to Ukraine and Moldova at the outbreak of the war, and while there is optimism that both countries will be invited to start negotiations on EU membership at the end of this year, the prospects for membership themselves continue to be mired in geopolitical fog: France in particular is demanding major institutional reforms within the EU itself (by removing the veto power) in order to make the EU ready to welcome new members (Ukraine in particular), while such reforms within the EU itself are extremely difficult to achieve. Secondly, Poland and other Central European countries have clearly demonstrated with this year’s Ukrainian grain embargo initiatives that Central Europe, despite its many declarations of solidarity with Ukraine, can become significant opponents of Ukraine’s integration into the EU and the Single Market, as it is already showing its fear of competing with Ukraine’s agricultural production in the same EU Single Market. Paradoxically, one can already see that Central Europe could become the biggest obstacle in Ukraine’s path to EU membership: Central Europe has demonstrated this year that it is afraid and will be afraid of Ukraine’s economic competition in the future; Central Europe has also long demonstrated its reluctance to give up the veto power, despite the fact that the veto has consistently turned into a major instrument of the European “blackmail culture”. If the choice were to be made in between of retaining the veto power or Ukraine’s membership of the EU, it is not clear at the moment which one of the alternatives Central Europe would choose. Neither it is clear which one would Lithuania choose. The likely consequence of all this is a slow, lengthy and ineffective process of Ukraine’s integration into the EU. Not because Ukraine will not be able to implement the necessary reforms, but because the European Union itself will eventually lack political will and will stop at some vague model of gradual integration, without clear political will, without clear criteria, dates and stages for integration, leaving Ukraine in a grey geopolitical area for a long time to come. As it has been the case so far.        I am not writing all this to complain once again about how weak the West is, still geopolitically asleep or afraid of Putin. The West is what it is – we just need to see its strengths and weaknesses. They can change: the West may act one way while Biden is the US President, it may act another way if Trump comes back. But it is clear that the West is our only security potential and resource. On the other hand, it is also clear, at least to us, that the fate of the West is also being decided in Ukraine.

Obviously, “the West” is a broad concept, covering very different regions with quite different interests: it covers the new Europe with Central Europe and the Baltic States; it covers Northern Europe and the United Kingdom; it covers the old Europe with quite distinct Germany, France and the Mediterranean countries; finally it covers the transatlantic partners. Most of these countries are members of NATO and, on the European continent, of the EU. On Ukraine, there is more or less unanimity, although it is clear that different regions have different priorities. Sometimes, in the name of preserving unity, more decisive action is sacrificed, although this has not yet become the most visible problem. However, this may soon become an increasingly prominent challenge, as today’s “Western reality”, as described above, may have increasingly negative long-term consequences. First and foremost for our region, but also for the whole of the European continent, and thus for the West.

The reality of the West is what it is today. Our challenge is to be able to act and to achieve maximum objectives even in the face of this reality. The problems of today’s Western reality that concern us most can be identified very briefly: a) the lack of an overarching long-term Western strategy for the geopolitical reconstruction of the whole of the eastern part of Europe (Ukraine, Russia, Belarus), in which Ukraine (its victory, reconstruction, Euro-Atlantic integration) would play a central role; b) the lack of Western geopolitical leadership and political will for the preparation and implementation of such a strategy.

This raises the question of Lithuania’s responsibility. Our primary responsibility is to find partners and like-minded people with whom we can work together to change the “Western reality” of today. We are having a lot of discussions about the German brigade in Lithuania, about the purchase of German tanks and how to keep such a purchase secret (?!) – this is important, but it only concerns our individual security. Meanwhile, I do not see at all any broader and more fundamental discussions among us about how we can achieve a change in the current “Western reality”; what we have to do to make the unconditional victory of Ukraine and the crushing of Russia the West’s goal; what we have to do to make the West no longer afraid of the victory of Ukraine and its consequences for Russia; what we must do to ensure that the West sees Ukraine’s Euro-Atlantic integration not only as an aspiration for Ukraine, but also as something that is vital for the West itself, because only in this way can the geopolitical reconstruction of Eastern Europe be realised and the conditions for a sustainable peace on the continent of Europe be created. This is no less important for the security of the whole of Europe and for our own security than what tanks or brigades will eventually be deployed in Lithuania.

Europe’s geopolitical problems (dangers and opportunities) are currently concentrated on the eastern borders of the Western area on the European continent. The political weight of the countries of the Western area representing this region (including Lithuania and Ukraine) has increased considerably in the Western area. This region can fill the deficit of the collective leadership that is so painfully felt in the West. But the region has so far failed to demonstrate such efforts.


Because we do not yet feel that this is also “our war”. If we did, we would be discussing not only NATO’s defence plans, which are important to us, but also whether a situation could arise where NATO or other Western coalitions of like-minded people would start to consider committing their own forces to the Ukrainian war; we would also be discussing right now whether or not we would be prepared to send troops to Ukraine together with a coalition of like-minded nations if it really were “our war” (and such a discussion is already taking place amongst experts in the West).

We would also be discussing how to give up the veto in European Union affairs and how to help Poland not to fear competition from Ukrainian agriculture. We would also be discussing how to convince the West that democracy is possible in Russia too, and that the West need not be afraid of a Ukrainian victory over Russia and the resulting collapse of the Putin regime.

As long as we are not discussing such things, we are a silent part of today’s “Western reality”. And that reality should not be satisfactory to us. If it is not satisfactory, then we should be trying to change it, and not thinking about how we can foolishly adapt to it.

Once upon a time, during the times of the Lithuanian Independence movement Sąjūdis, the “reality of the West” (“just don’t rock the Soviet Union’s boat, because the reformist Gorbachev must be preserved”) did not suit us either. And we managed to change it, working together with all the other like-minded countries: the Baltic States, Poland, Scandinavia, Great Britain, the US Congress. Now it is a historic moment of equal importance. And the fundamental problem is the same – “the Western reality”. We have the experience to change it.

That is what we must do, because that is our greatest responsibility today.


EP delegation visits Ukraine

During a visit on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of Ukraine’s Independence Day, a European Parliament delegation held a series of meetings in Kyiv.

In the delegation participated following members of the European Parliament: Andrius Kubilius, Michael Gahler, Viola von Cramon, Petras Auštrevičius, Juozas Olekas, Anna Fotyga and Ramona Strugariu.

Members took part in the official launch of the Crimea Platform, where they expressed their unwavering support for Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. Further, the delegation held a meeting with representatives of anti-corruption organizations and emphasized the importance of NABU and SAPO independence as well as the necessity to build a strong anti-corruption infrastructure.

Also, during their visit to the House of Decentralization, Members were briefed on the progress in one of the key reforms, its priorities and recent achievements.

Also, the delegation took part in the meeting with Vice Prime Minister for EU Integration Olha Stefanishyna to discuss priorities in Ukrainian integration, preparations for the 23rd Ukraine-EU Summit, special attention was paid to the Associated Trio initiative launched by Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova.

Members hold further meetings with members of the Verkhovna Rada and the Mayor of the Kyiv city, attended a special session of the Verkhovna Rada on the occasion of celebration. Further, Delegation of the European Parliament will visit Eastern Ukraine in the coming days.


Andrius Kubilius. Belarus: what next?

What has happened so far? Lukashenko lost the elections. He continues to try to remain in power by deploying the brutal and inhumane power of OMON and the military, pogroms and torture. By holding Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya’s husband hostage in jail and thus blackmailing his rival who received a majority in the vote, Lukashenko has forced her to flee to Lithuania to her children.

Peaceful demonstrations by Belarussian women with flowers and the emergence of nationwide strikes have forced Lukashenko to change tack in recent days: arrested and beaten people during peaceful demonstrations have been released. Even the possibility cannot be ruled out that Lukashenko will agree to mimic some sort of “dialogue” with the opposition. Despite the protests in Belarus proceeding seemingly without any clear leadership, they are very effective, constantly changing their tactics in an organised fashion and achieving crucial results. The demands of all protesters are the same: halt OMON pogroms on the streets, release political prisoners and those arrested during peaceful demonstrations, carry out an impartial count of all votes and hold new presidential elections. This way, a historic civic victory would be achieved in the elections and over the past few days, it would also be possible to halt (at least temporarily) OMON pogroms and rampaging on the streets. It is likely that other goals will also be achieved. The new Belarussian civic nation, despite the extremely difficult conditions of Lukashenko’s dictatorship, has thus far acted almost flawlessly. Despite the grumbling of Lithuanian “couch experts” that things aren’t proceeding correctly or that democracy in Belarus only benefits Putin, it is likely that the Belarussian “flower revolution” will not only return true democracy and true sovereignty to Belarus, but will also have a far wider geopolitical impact across the entire post-Soviet authoritarian space, including Russia. While observing with surprise the wisdom, energy and strength of the Belarussian civic movement, it becomes clear that even without our advice, they themselves are pursuing a final victory to great effect. However, it is essential for us to understand what Lithuanian, European or in general Western actions we can employ to help them pursue this victory. These events must involve not only solidarity events (which are truly important) or declarations denouncing Lukashenko’s brutality and calls for him to “leave”, but also specific political and legal initiatives of our own, which we must implement across all international institutions in which we have a presence so that we may help the Belarussians achieve real change sooner.

There are actions which we are already putting into effect (both President Nausėda and Minister Linkevičius, as well as the Seimas committees), but there are tasks which we must still initiate without delay. Let me list a few of them here:

1. Illegitimate Lukashenko. This is already recognised by most Western leaders and the EU leadership. But we must follow up on this – on September 10, his current mandate expires. After this, he will only be “citizen Lukashenko.” This means that it will no longer be possible for there to be any discussions or dialogues with him regarding any sort of “transition period.” If, even after this expiration, he clings to the post through the help of the OMON and the military, the international community must view him as an individual who has usurped power by military force. Based even just on the current Belarussian Constitution, this is a serious crime. Lithuania must begin formulating this position within international institutions immediately. Up to September 10, it will be possible to “negotiate” with Lukashenko only on how he will step down after September 10 and how Belarus will be administered in the transition period.

2. New elections without Yermoshina and the compromised commissions. New and immediate presidential elections are inevitable and this is the only way out of the current political and constitutional crisis in Belarus. Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya also pledged new and free elections. While it is clear that Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya won the August 9 elections, it might be impossible to perform a full legal count of voters’ wishes due to the mass manipulations perpetrated by the Lukashenko administration both before and during the elections. The new elections must be transparent, in line with all international standards and cannot be influenced by the commissions of Lukashenko and Yermoshina. Even the presence of numerous international observers might not suffice if fair elections are to be held assuming the same electoral commissions remain operational. So it is essential to initiate without delay an international investigation of the current electoral commissions’ illegal actions and during that process perform an impartial count of the real votes (which S. Tsikhanouskaya has been justly demanding). However, such an investigation should first and foremost help uncover the scale of machinations and expose those responsible for “election theft” (all the way down to the common commission chairmen and secretaries falsifying the elections). These individuals must be included in the list of individuals with sanctions potentially imposed on them (at least by stripping them of the right to receive an EU visa) and the commissions must be reformed from the ground up, including in them representatives of political parties and candidates and allowing observers to operate freely. These actions must be initiated without delay so as to actively help protect the fairness of the upcoming elections.

3. Political prisoner Siarhei Tsikhanouski must be immediately released. No “round tables” or “dialogues” can be held regarding emerging from the crisis until the husband of election winner Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya remains a hostage in prison. Terrorists seize hostages to reach their goals. Lukashenko is doing the same. No one negotiates with terrorists over the release of hostages. The same must be the case with Lukashenko. The release of other political prisoners is also a necessary condition, but S. Tsikhanouski’s case is special.

4. An international inquiry into the pogroms and torture perpetrated by the OMON. Even after the Belarussian people achieved victory against violence on the streets, which has finally come to a halt, it is essential to perform a thorough international inquiry into these crimes, which could even lead all the way to the Hague Tribunal. This could also include a broader investigation of Lukashenko’s crimes. An initiative which we proposed at the European Parliament to establish a special investigative committee, which would gather evidence and testimony of such crimes and would initiate international legal processes, received the support of almost 100 members of the European Parliament within two days with no intrusive urging. This initiative is important not only so that the guilty would be punished or would face sanctions both as per the legal acts of democratic Belarus and international law, but also so that it would be a preventative lesson to other authoritarian individuals in the post-Soviet space whose “expiration date” is soon approaching, including the one in Russia.

5. EU sanctions. Ursula von der Leyen has already spoken of sanctions. Thus, they will be imposed. It is not worth arguing over this. The core question is how widely and deeply such sanctions should range. Currently, it is important to ensure that the corresponding EU services would begin drafting lists of individuals upon whom sanctions could be applied. There need to be at least two lists – one to include individuals participating in the “stealing” of election results and another – persons who are responsible for and who participated in the pogroms and torture. The lists must include not only leaders, but also regular perpetrators of these crimes. The United States has developed a practice whereby the US Congress tasks individual departments with drafting such sanctions lists. The European Parliament should take the initiative for such a practice to be also conducted in the European Union without delay.

6. EU support for Belarus. When we talk about personal or sectoral sanctions, concerns are voiced that this will only push the current Lukashenko administration into the Kremlin’s embrace. In response to such concerns, it must be emphasised that any actions the illegitimate Lukashenko might take will also be illegitimate. Secondly, for the Kremlin, “friendship” with the “toxic” Lukashenko is, in the long term, dangerous (I wrote about this recently: https://martenscentre.eu/blog/belarus-trap-kremlin). However, the European Union must talk already today not only about sanctions against the Belarussian regime, but also about what aid democratic Belarus should receive. First of all, it must be fully clear that even the minor EU support (around EUR 100 million) that the EU has allocated to Lukashenko’s Belarus up to now will continue to be provided to Belarus’ civic organisations, communities or businesses while circumventing the Lukashenko regime. Nevertheless, the EU must clearly indicate right now what the EU support will look like when Belarus fully bids farewell to Lukashenko’s regime. The new civic Belarussian nation must know that the EU will offer them the same opportunities that were enjoyed by other Eastern Partnership countries following their democratic changes. These include the visa-free regime agreement, the free trade agreement and finally, the Association Agreement and vastly increased and tangible financial support. It is worth remembering that after the 2014 Maidan revolution, the EU issued Ukraine EUR 14 billion in financial support, which was accompanied by support from other financial institutions in the West. Considering Belarus’ different size, we can conclude that, based on the Ukrainian analogy, democratic Belarus could expect an EU financial aid package of up to EUR 4 billion. The EU should already begin drafting such specific support plans now.

7. The Andrei Sakharov Prize for Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya for her heroic struggle in the name of democracy and human rights. The international democratic community must suitably recognise what the new civic Belarussian nation achieved in its struggle for democratic change. As this struggle continues, this feat of the civic society as a whole deserves the utmost respect. Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya is a symbol of this feat, perhaps also her comrades – Maryia Kalesnikava and Veronika Tsepkalo should be awarded the honourable annual Andrei Sakharov Prize, which the European Parliament bequeaths every year to those with the greatest merit in the fight for democratic and human rights values. Nominations are accepted up to September 20 this year. We are witnesses to historic events. We are even participants to some extent. “For your and our freedom” – this means that Belarus’ freedom is also our freedom. I hope that soon it will also be Russia’s freedom. This is worth fighting for. Not only on the streets of Belarus, but also in the corridors of the West. A clear action plan is needed for this and I have sought to present a few initial guidelines.


Statement on Belarus – Call for International Investigation

A statement by Mr Andrius KUBILIUS and Mr Ivan KRULKO, Co-Presidents of the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly

We, the Co-Presidents of the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly, deplore disproportionate violence and torture of innocent People of Belarus by Mr Lukashenko regime, as well as its brutal attempts to hold fraudulent Presidential election leading to the 9th August 2020 and subsequent events.

We call for free and transparent counting of votes and immediate release of all political prisoners. As independent exit polls and a transparent work of regional election commissions not obeying the directives of illegitimate Mr Lukashenko show, the People of Belarus have made their choice for Ms Tichanovskaja, which has to be respected by the Belarusian authorities.

During the days of 9 to 12 August 2020, more than 6000 Belarusians were detained, more than 300 hospitalised, one confirmed dead and one in critical coma condition with lethal head injury made by a firearm. Mr Lukashenko and his regime have sanctioned these criminal actions, pogroms by OMON of innocent people throughout all Belarus, which are taking place up until now.

We call upon international investigation into the crimes committed by law enforcement authorities of Mr Lukashenko regime in Belarus against peaceful protesters demanding transparent, free and fair Presidential elections and immediate release of all political prisoners in Belarus.

We call upon the European Parliament to set up a parliamentary ad hoc inquiry committee on the crimes committed in Belarus, which would immediately start hearings of responsible Belarus authorities, will hold fact-finding missions in Belarus and be periodically reporting on its findings to the plenary sessions of the European Parliament.

We urge the EU Council to hold an extraordinary meeting to discuss the next steps of protecting the choice of the People of Belarus for Presidential election of Ms Tichanovskaja and to start developing the targeted sanctions against Mr Lukashenko and his regime, which were responsible for falsifying the elections and repressions of innocent people protesting against this injustice.

We call upon all international organisations responsible for the protection of human rights, such as UN Human Rights Council, OSCE, the International Criminal Court, to start their investigations into these crimes committed by Mr Lukashenko regime against the People in Belarus during a period of electoral process before and after 9 August 2020.

Photo copyright: AP photo


Statement to the People of Belarus

By Andrius Kubilius, MEP, Chair of the European Parliament’s Delegation to the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly

Despite the fact, that the electoral process that led to 9 August 2020 Presidential election in Belarus was not legitimate and was fabricated by Lukashenko authorities, the outcome is clear: majority of Belarus voted against Mr Lukashenko and in favor of Ms Tychanovskaja as is shown by official results, which were announced by several election commisions, which decided to calculate the votes in a fair and transparent way.

The falsified numbers announced by Lukashenko authorities do not represent the democratic will of the People of Belarus. The election process, administered by regime of Mr Lukashenko, did not comply with the minimum international standards for a credible process, democracy, transparency and the rule of law.

Mr Lukashenko is trying to steal the democratic, free and fair elections. He stole the candidates, members of election commissions, independent observers, and he is trying to steal the votes and the sovereignty from the People. The elections that were stolen will have to be returned to the People of Belarus and Belarus brought back to the European family. The EU and its western partners will need to demand to bring back a transparent recount calculation of votes or new free and fair elections and to release all political prisoners.

The EU needs to stand together in solidarity with those defending the Belarusian people against illegitimate regime of Mr Lukashenko.

The EU should start adopting restrictive measures by targeting the regime of Mr Lukashenko involved in repressions before and after the night of 9 August 2020, which were directed against independent media, journalists, social activists and peaceful protesters that led to grave violations of human rights, arrests, torture and casultiescasualties inflicted by the law enforcement authorities. The EU needs to deplores the repressions and the use of disproportionate and a brutal force by Lukashenko regime and his security forces against peaceful protestors and needs to  warns against any further use of force. These actions of Belarusian authorities will bear the consequences according to the international law.

The EU needs to stand together in solidarity with those defending the Belarusian people against illegitimate regime of Mr Lukashenko. The restrictive measures should also involve members of central and regional electoral commissions involved in a massive falsification of the election results.

The restrictive measures can be revised depending on the evolution of the situation in Belarus, in particular as regards returning as soon as possible to transparent recount of votes or to free and fair democratic Presidential election process and the liberation of all political prisoners Belarus. These measures will need to be designed not to harm the Belarusian population whose demands for change the EU shoud be ready to support. The EU will have to stop assisting financialy and by other means illegitimate Mr Lukashenko and his regime, which is the main obstacle to the development of Belarus.

The number of people lined up to vote on 9 August 2020, the day of the Presidential election and the number of votes given for Ms Tychanovskaja in those precincts where the votes were counted in a fair and transparent way, were clearly in contradiction with the announcement in the evening of exit polls made by the official authorities. We stand together with regional election commissions, which decided not to follow the directives of Lukashenko regime and chose a fair and open counting of the ballots.

We see a different nation of Belarus founded in the process of the presidential elections. This nation is not afraid of an aggressive and criminal regime of Mr Lukashenko. This nation will be defending its voice and the European future of Belarus. The duty of Europe now is to remain together with the People in helping them to build that future of a prosperous Belarus, which chose to stand against the dictatorship and repressions of Mr Lukashenko.

The nation of Belarus deserves a better future within the European family of prosperous and democratic countries. The EU will have to develop a policy on Belarus without Mr Lukashenko, which would foresee the next steps in European solidarity and association process with Belarus and its People.

Zyve free and democratic Belarus!


Rasa Juknevičienė. 80 years after the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, dividing lines in Europe linger on

On 23 August, Europe will mark the European Day of Remembrance for the victims of totalitarian regimes and will commemorate 80 years since the notorious non-aggression agreement between the two biggest totalitarian tyrannies of the 20th century, Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. The agreement, signed on August 23, 1939, and better known as the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, contained secret protocols in which Stalin and Hitler plotted to divide Europe between themselves.

Read more: https://www.lrt.lt/en/news-in-english/19/1089756/80-years-after-the-molotov-ribbentrop-pact-dividing-lines-in-europe-linger-on-opinion