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"Our people always keep Ukrainians in their hearts. Everything that happens in Ukraine, for us is very important. I want to send my warmest feelings of all Ukrainian from the Lithuanians. We stand beside you in all your challenges. We do our best to help you." This was stated by President of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaite at the joint press conference with the President Poroshenko, held in Kyiv on 12 December. Grybauskaite said that Lithuania supports Ukraine at all levels. According to her, Europe should learn from the experience of Ukrainian actions in hybrid and conventional war, because it has the same geopolitical challenges.
Lithuanian President drew attention to the fact that corruption in high places Ukraine harms more than the war in the east of the state. "Recent electronic declaration of income show that you have a lot of work ahead in terms of fighting corruption, which is more detrimental to your country than even the war on your territory. This is a challenge not only to political parties. They themselves cannot cope. It is necessary that all the people of Ukraine united and worked on it," she claimed. According to her, only together with civil society, politicians and business community can overcome "this most dangerous cancer." "That is what you have to overcome it in the coming years. We will share experiences and send you the experts," said Grybauskaite.
For its part, on the day of 25th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations between Lithuania and Ukraine Ukrainian head of state thanked Grybauskaite for "joint struggle against Russian aggression". Poroshenko also expressed appreciation for the condemnation of the annexation of the Crimea, and consistent position of Lithuania on the implementation of the Minsk agreements to restore peace in Donbas, and help in the rehabilitation of wounded Ukrainian soldiers.
"Restraining Russia is also a guarantee of safety "
Olena BETLIY, an analyst at the Institute of World Policy, Kyiv:
This is the 9th meeting of presidents, which takes place within the framework of a Council of Presidents of Ukraine and Lithuania, which was launched in the early 2000s. Last year, a similar meeting took place in Vilnius, and this year is dedicated to the 25th anniversary of the Day of diplomatic relations between Lithuania and Ukraine.
Symbolism, of course, is that once again, and his visit and performances, and all the message that was heard from Mrs. President Grybauskaite during communication with the press, Lithuania, in fact, today there is a consistent and reliable partner of Ukraine and ally to which we can always count on. In particular, this says that today a "road map" of strategic partnership between Ukraine and Lithuania for the next two years has been extended. The parties also signed appropriate bilateral agreements that will facilitate obviously, deepening cooperation in various planes. This also means that we can continue to count on the expertise of Lithuania.
Indeed, very strong Lithuanian experts worked in Ukraine, they chair various international missions in Ukraine and represent the EU, but at the same time, they having a very large Lithuanian expert and political background. And they help Ukraine by the advice based on the experience they gained in Lithuania respectively, introducing certain reforms towards European integration.
Lithuania supports Ukraine on its path to NATO and EU, and does a lot for reforms in the Ministry of Defense, the Armed Forces of Ukraine to switch to NATO standards.
Lithuania supports Ukraine where it can, of course it is for a visa-free regime, the extension of sanctions against Russia, making tough EU policy towards Russia. Containing Russia is also security guarantees for Lithuania.
If you look at 25-year history of bilateral relations, we see that for all Lithuanian Presidents had good relations. And of course, we can talk about role of Adamkus in the development of Lithuanian-Ukrainian relations and its role in the maintenance and development of democracy in Ukraine, European integration, Euro-Atlantic integration.
Dalia Grybauskaite is the successor of such a policy, but certainly her charisma affects the development of relations. This applies both to its consistency and very tough stance towards Russia. If we compare the speeches Ukrainian president and Grybauskaite, respectively, then see how she was often tougher stance towards Russia, Russian aggression.
But in general, what Lithuania and that Ukrainian politicians should understand is consistency. There is no change depending on the change of the political palette. Changing the coalition does not mean changing the foreign policy vector. Lithuania has consistency and continuity of its policies. Even given the recent parliamentary elections in Lithuania, we see that foreign policy was a sphere, for which all parties agreed.