Lithuania will continue supporting Ukraine's ongoing defense and security reforms, Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius said after meeting with Ukraine's Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak in Vilnius on Thursday.
Linas Linkevičius
© DELFI / Domantas Pipas

Vytautas Bakas, chairman of the parliamentary National Security and Defense Committee, said that Lithuania could step up expert assistance to Ukraine.

"We welcome Ukraine's ongoing defense and security sector reform. I am pleased that we had the opportunity to contribute. We are well aware of the importance of the ongoing processes. Please rest assured that we wish to continue to train Ukrainian soldiers and benefit from their invaluable experience, to provide military assistance, to treat injured soldiers and, along with NATO partners, to participate in multilateral projects aimed at helping to implement the Ukrainian military reform," Linkevicius said in a press release.

He called on Ukraine to continue the ongoing reform and to make use of all the tools and support offered by partners and Allies, also underlining NATO's commitment to further develop the NATO-Ukrainian partnership.

The Ukrainian defense minister, Poltorak, informed Linkevicius about the difficult security situation in Eastern Ukraine, presented the Ukrainian defense reform, thanked Lithuania for its support and requested to continue training the military of Ukraine.

On Thursday afternoon, Poltorak met with Lithuania's Parliamentary Speaker Viktoras Pranckietis and members of the parliamentary National Security and Defense Committee to discuss the Russian-Belarusian military exercise Zapad 2017 to take place close to Lithuanian borders in September.

"Just like us, the Ukrainians are alarmed by the Zapad exercise. Forces are being piled up at Eastern borders of the European Union and at Ukrainian borders. Russia's military activity near their borders has clearly escalated and continues escalating. Troops and military equipment are being stationed. The conflict is being escalated," Bakas told BNS after the meeting.

He emphasized the importance of rallying partners in Europe "to keep the pressure on Russia and stop its imperial ambitions."

In Bakas' words, the meeting with the Ukrainian defense minister discussed the possibility of raising the contribution of Lithuanian instructors and experts to the Ukrainian armed forces.

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