Prime Minister: Lithuania and Israel understand the value of freedom – the struggle for it crucial for democracies is taking place in Ukraine today


2023 06 11


No one knows better than the Jewish people the tragic price that humanity pays when the ideals of freedom and democracy are not defended in the hour of need, and when silence and “neutrality” prevail in the face of aggression, Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė said on Sunday while attending an American Jewish Committee (AJC) conference in Tel Aviv.

In her speech at the AJC conference, the Prime Minister emphasized the global security implications of Russia’s war against Ukraine.

“Putin’s hatred of democracy, Russia’s military cooperation with the North Korean and Iranian regimes, its colonialist-like policies in Africa, and its weaponization of information, food, energy, and even water are just a few of the examples of how Russia’s imperial ambitions are threatening a much wider area than the borders of Ukraine,” said the Prime Minister.

On the other hand, the brutal war has brought like-minded partners together, the Prime Minister added. Europe, the NATO countries, and the whole democratic world have never been more united, and this unity must be preserved, because Russia’s war is an assault on freedom, democracy and the rule of law.

“To end this war as soon as possible, the community of democracies must immediately provide Ukraine with all the weapons it needs, because every delayed day costs lives, including civilian lives,” said the Prime Minister.

In her speech, the Prime Minister noted that the conditions for future peace must be dictated by Ukraine and not by the aggressor. At the same time, no formula for peace can be implemented without justice. Only the enforcement of accountability, including that of Russia’s top leaders, will ensure deserved justice for the victims and help break the terrible cycle of Russia’s wars from repeating themselves in the future.

The Prime Minister said that Israel’s experience in the pursuit of justice and historical truth is now essential for Ukraine.

“In recent years, we have witnessed a growing alliance between Russia and Iran, with both countries turning themselves into pariahs with a worldview against the supposedly ‘decadent West’,” the Prime Minister said, adding that Lithuania, as an EU Member State, will continue to push for the extension of sanctions against Iran, which is supplying Russia with drones, which are then used to attack Ukraine, and is destabilising the security situation in the Middle East.

At the AJC conference, Prime Minister Šimonytė also noted the deep cultural bonds between Lithuania and Israel, the contribution of Jews to Lithuania’s history, emphasized the close and good bilateral relations between the two countries today, and congratulated Israel on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the establishment of the State of Israel this year.

“Despite the geographical distance, we stand together as nations that have overcome enormous challenges to win our rightful place in the world,” said the Prime Minister.