Lithuania, Poland, Ukraine united against Russian ‘aggression’

Moscow, July 28 (EFE).- Ukraine, Lithuania and Poland highlighted their unity in the face of threats from “aggressive neighbors” Russia on Wednesday as they marked the first anniversary of the creation of the Lublin Triangle.

The platform was inaugurated a year ago between the two former Soviet republics and Poland, which was a satellite state.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told a press conference that the Lublin Triangle “is part of Ukraine’s strategy to create a security belt between the Baltic and Black Seas”, arguing that it creates a real alternative to the “Russian world” policy that dominates the region.

“Ukraine, Poland and Lithuania will never return to the Russian sphere of influence (…),” said Kuleba, who stressed that the group could also be a “real alternative for the future” of Belarus, which still relies heavily on Russia for support.

Belarus would be welcome in the group once it has “embarked on a democratic and European path,” he said.

Ahead of the press briefing, Kuleba said in a video message with his counterparts from Poland, Zbigniew Rau, and Lithuania, Gabrielius Landsbergis, that the Lublin Triangle is clear about fighting “current and determined threats when it comes to defending our European and Euro-Atlantic future from aggressive neighbors,” a thinly veiled reference to Moscow, which has stepped up military maneuvers along several of its borders with members of the Lublin Triangle.

Landsbergis stressed that the unity of the Triangle member countries “helps us to further strengthen regional cooperation and at the same time to face geopolitical challenges to the future of Europe, especially with regard to threats to democracy from aggressive neighboring states.”

Lithuania maintains long-standing tensions with Russia as well as with Belarus, not least because of its opposition to the authoritarian regime of Alexander Lukashenko. A number of Belarussian opposition leaders, including Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, live there in exile.

Bilateral tensions between the neighbors were raised even further recently after Minsk allowed more than 2,100 migrants, mostly from the Middle East and Africa, to cross the border illegally this year.

Lithuanian officials have accused Belarus of waging a form of hybrid warfare in retaliation for Vilnius’ support for Belarussian opposition and for leading moves to impose sanctions on Minsk after a Ryanair flight from Athens to Vilnius was diverted to detain an opposition journalist and his girlfriend.

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