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If Putin isn't stopped 'whatever happens next is Europe's problem at large,' Lithuanian PM says

If Putin isn't stopped 'whatever happens next is Europe's problem at large,' Lithuanian PM says
  • Lithuania, which borders Russia, says Russia could attack other countries if not stopped in Ukraine.

  • The country is one of Ukraine's biggest allies and is urging the West to do more to help it.

  • Its prime minister told BI that if Putin is not stopped "whatever happens next is Europe's problem at large."

Whatever Russia does next will be a problem for the whole of Europe unless it's defeated in Ukraine, Lithuania's prime minister told Business Insider.

Ingrida Šimonytė said in an interview that "the outcome of this fight in Ukraine is crucial for Europe."

"If Putin is not stopped in Ukraine, then whatever happens next is Europe's problem at large," she said.

Lithuania, which borders part of Russia and Russia-aligned Belarus, is one of the countries that has given the most support to Ukraine, at least in terms of percentage of its GDP.

It was also giving Ukraine support and military equipment before Russia's full-scale invasion in February 2022, when proxy fighting was taking place in its east.

Last year, Šimonytė told BI that Ukrainians are dying to help protect Europe and that supporting Ukraine is "investing into our security."

Lithuania, a member of NATO and the EU, was once part of the Soviet Union and now warns vocally that Russia could attack it, too.

Many other European countries warn of a similar scenario. Multiple nations have said that Russia could attack one of them next if it's not defeated in Ukraine.

Ukrainian soldiers reload an artillery unit on the front line, in the direction of the Kreminna as the Russian - Ukraine war continues in Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine on January 30, 2024.
Ukrainian soldiers reload artillery on the front line.Ignacio Marin/Anadolu via Getty Images

An attack on a NATO member would likely drag the US and other NATO states into a wider and more expensive war, as NATO considers an attack on one member an attack on all.

Šimonytė said the continent is becoming more aware of this threat.

"Now it seems like Europe understand this is Europe's problem," she said, but added that some countries still seem to have a hope that things will be sorted out by themselves.

Šimonytė also said that European countries must give everything they can from their arsenals, as well as ramp up manufacturing.

Ukraine is running low on weaponry and ammunition, with US support stalled by House Republicans and European countries saying they don't have enough in their arsenals to spare.

She encouraged countries to look beyond "red lines" they set for themselves. "Putin laughs at our red lines," she said.

US Vice President Kamala Harris with Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte in Washington DC in December 2022.
Vice President Kamala Harris (right) with Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte (left) in Washington DC in December 2022.AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

Šimonytė said countries keep setting out red lines of weapons they won't give to Ukraine, only to turn around and do so months later.

It's frustrating to watch this scenario repeatedly play out, she said.

"During those couple of months, we have so many casualties, so many deaths, so many losses that could have been avoided."

Šimonytė said Ukraine can win this war, but "it's so sad when the debate takes longer than it is reasonable."

"It is about deaths of people that Ukraine faces every day just because we are sort of lagging behind," she added.

Read the original article on Business Insider