‘Putin’s idea is to return all former USSR member countries under Russia’s influence. He wants to restore the old Russia. That’s paranoia, and we should take it seriously,’ Dalia Gribauskaite said in an interview with Speigel.
She added that Russia resorts to military force, propaganda and economic pressure wherever there is a gap in the European security system. This is why, she said, Lithuania doesn’t rule out Russian aggression in the Baltic States after the Kremlin annexed Crimea in spring 2014.
On the other hand, Gribauskaite stressed that it is not about being afraid of the Russian invasion. ‘I don’t like the word ‘fear’. We lived under the Soviet occupation; we know what this neighbor is capable of, and it is capable of attacking’, she said, remembering that Lithuania had a big army on the eve of the WWII, but it didn’t fight the Soviets. ‘That will never happen again’, the Lithuanian president claimed.