Lithuania should be prepared for provocations from Russia, says Benediktas Juodka, chairman of the parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee.
Benediktas Juodka
© DELFI / Kiril Čachovskij

Speaking at a news conference at the parliament on Wednesday, he noted the recent increase in the number of Russian provocations – the abduction of the Estonian officer, escalating proposals in Latvia to allow a second official language and a statement by a Russian Foreign Ministry official about alleged violations of rights of Russian-speaking populations in the Baltic states.

"These are the Russian provocations and we must be ready for these actions. The essence of the Russian conflict is the 'defence' of rights of Russians in Southeastern Ukraine. The intention can be used to provide pseudo defence in any country of the European Union, which has a certain percentage of Russian-speaking residents. If this is how it goes, Estonia is probably faced with the biggest threat but we should also be prepared," said Juodka.

In his words, Lithuania should also pay more attention to regions with large populations of ethnic minorities. "We should probably support the position of President Dalia Grybauskaitė – we have somewhat abandoned the regions where members of other ethnicities live. Look at the Šalčininkai district, at Visaginas – did they get any investment? The impression is that the areas are forgotten," the chairman of the parliamentary committee added.

At the same time, he noted that this requires activeness of local governments. "On the other hand, there are municipalities, and nobody will bring an investment from Vilnius, if the municipalities remain idle. There are countless opportunities, EU structural funds that are available for various projects," he noted.

Konstantin Dolgov, the Russian Foreign Ministry's commissioner for human rights, has told a conference of representatives of the Russian-speaking communities in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia recently that the international community must respond to gross violations of the rights of Russian-speakers in the Baltic states.

In comment of the statement, Larisa Dmitrijeva of the Lithuanian Russian Union, stated that the situation of Russian-speakers in Lithuania is different from the one in Latvia and Estonia.

After restoring its independence in 1990, Lithuania granted citizenship to all residents, therefore, there are no non-citizen Russian-speakers in Lithuania, contrary to Latvia and Estonia where Russian-speakers must go trough the naturalization process.

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