Georgian ally Lithuania slams Russia over ceasefire breaches
(VILNIUS) - Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus Thursday accused Russia of failing to honour a ceasefire in Georgia and said he was deeply concerned by continued fighting there.
Adamkus, a staunch ally of Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, pointed to military action in the flashpoint Georgian city of Gori.
"This causes great concern as it is not clear whose orders the Russian troops are executing and why Russia does not honour the declared ceasefire," he said in a statement.
A ceasefire brokered earlier this week by France, which is at the helm of the 27-member European Union, formally ended five days of fighting between Russian and Georgian forces.
The Baltic state of Lithuania has been pressing for a get-tough Western stance towards Russia over its offensive, which began last week after Tbilisi's troops attacked a pro-Russian breakaway region of Georgia to try to bring it back under government control.
Like Georgia, Lithuania was part of the Soviet Union until 1991 but in contrast with the troubled Caucasus republic it is now firmly anchored in the West, having joined NATO and the EU in 2004.
EU members have had trouble forging a common line on the conflict, with some members, including France and Germany, wary of ruining ties with a resurgent -- and energy rich -- Russia, while some central and eastern European members, including Lithuania, want a harder line.
Along with the leaders of ex-communist EU and NATO members Estonia, Latvia and Poland, Adamkus travelled to Tbilisi this week in a show of support for Saakashvili.
Adamkus' office said Thursday that the president believed it was essential for EU members and other Western states to deploy "a vast mission of peacekeepers, observers and other monitors who will record the illegal actions by Russian troops."
"Georgia's territorial integrity and the withdrawal of the occupation army must be the main objectives to be pursued by the international community after military actions are discontinued," it said.
Adamkus also expressed concern about Russian comments that ex-communist states would pay for supporting Georgia.
Russia's ambassador to Latvia, Alexander Veshnyakov, has warned them against criticising the Kremlin, saying "serious mistakes can be made that have to be paid for a long time afterwards."
On Thursday, Lithuania's Foreign Minister Petras Vaitiekunas called the comments "worrying" and said he was taking them "very seriously".
Original article posted here.