In the eyes of much of the West, Russia's image has changed from that of an aggressor to that of an important partner in the fight against terror, says Eastern Europe Studies Centre analyst Linas Kojala.
A counter-terrorism police operation in Brussels
© Reuters / Scanpix

According to him, Lithuania's politicians must ensure that Western politicians can clearly distinguish between the fight against terror and Russia's aggression in post-Soviet areas, because Russia's threat to these regions hasn't changed.

“The security situation in Eastern Europe has been suppressed by the fight against terrorism and the migration crisis. It is very likely that these questions will be some of the more important ones facing the EU, NATO and many other states in 2016.

This will likely have a negative impact on Lithuania, because these causes will reduce the amount of focus on the situation in Eastern Europe and will increase preparedness to cooperate with Russia,” said the State Security Department's national security report published yesterday.

“Russia has been trying to convince the West that honest and close cooperation in the fight against terrorism and other international security problems would only be possible once NATO renounces its defensive obligations to Eastern Europe and stops increasing its forces there,” the report continued.

“When [the situation in Eastern Europe and the fight against terrorism] are lumped together, it seems like nothing can be achieved without Russia and that it isn't an aggressor,” said Kojala. “However, Russia's actions fundamentally have not changed – the Eastern Ukrainian territory continues to be held by Russian-backed separatists and the obligations of the Minsk agreement are being ignored.

The only good thing is that Germany has been very principled and has said that it considers the question of Ukrainian sanctions as separate from those related to Syria and the fight against terrorism.”

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