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2014.03.10 15:07

Lithuanian ambassador to US compares Russia to North Korea in CNN interview

DELFI|The Lithuania Tribune2014.03.10 15:07

Lithuanian ambassador to US Žygimantas Pavilionis warned in an interview to CNN that Russia is starting to become similar to the North Korean dictatorship, therefore, the international community should issue a strong response and decide on a vision of communication with the European Union’s (EU) Eastern neighbors.

 Lithuanian ambassador to US Žygimantas Pavilionis warned in an interview to CNN that Russia is starting to become similar to the North Korean dictatorship, therefore, the international community should issue a strong response and decide on a vision of communication with the European Union’s (EU) Eastern neighbors.

Speaking on the CNN feature together with Latvian and Estonian ambassadors, the Lithuanian diplomat said that Russia’s plans to annex Crimea could be halted by personal sanctions against Russian government officials.

“One thing if you have North Korea. Another thing (is when you) have big country powerful country turning like North Korea with missiles, with armies. This is serious. That can make a huge impact on our Euro-Artlantic family. That’s why, I think, our response should be stronger than in usual cases,” said Pavilionis.

In the ambassador’s words, the West should not only respond to the Russian actions but implement a vision of its own.

“That’s our weakness. We are always reacting, we are trying to reassure each other. We have to have a vision what we really want Russia to be, what we really want Ukraine to be, Georgia. We once failed with membership action plan in NATO for Georgia and Ukraine and now we pay. We don’t have clarity on membership perspective of European Union for Ukraine,” the Lithuanian ambassador stated.

During the 2008 Bucharest summit, Germany blocked the proposal of then US president George W. Bush to provide Ukraine and Georgia with a NATO membership action plan, which would have been an important step towards membership in the Alliance.

Meanwhile, Lithuania was an active supporter of the Ukrainian and Georgian NATO entry.

In Pavilionis’ words, Russian President Vladimir Putin is trying to validate his presence in power by fighting with neighboring nations.

“He is weak, he is frightened. The only way for him to stay in power is to have a war. We saw it for hundreds of years. (…) I don’t know psychologically why he should actually stop. His popularity is rising. Of course, his economy is going down but look to North Korea. Those people who are stealing money from their own nation, they like it,” said the ambassador.

“(Russia can be stopped by) personal sanctions. Just a bunch of people controlling the wealth of their own country in their own pockets. They are stealing it. If you attack the assets of those people directly, if you attack their nice travel plans, skiing in Austria and nice dining in London, they will feel it,” Pavilionis told CNN.