Gitanas Nauseda was in Warsaw during a remote session of the Polish and Lithuanian parliaments, marking the 230th anniversary of their joint constitution, Europe’s first written democratic document, the Associated press reported.
“Lithuania will never recognize the illegal annexation of Crimea and will take steps to end the actual occupation of part of eastern Ukraine,” Nauseda said. “Whatever happens, we cannot allow Ukraine to fall back into the past.”
He also said that Lithuania supports the campaign for freedom in Belarus and will never allow it to be influenced by Moscow.
“There is no room in 21st century Europe for new areas of influence that deny the sovereignty of independent countries,” said Nauseda.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and the Presidents of Latvia and Estonia were also among the guests at the ceremonies in Warsaw.
For more information on The Associated Press, see below.
In a subsequent televised debate between the presidents, the Polish Andrzej Duda assured Zelenskyy that Warsaw also believes that Russia’s actions in Ukraine “must not be accepted”.
Zelenskyy, who is due to meet US Secretary of State Antony Blinken this week in Kiev, said the war against Moscow-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine means “there is a war in Europe.”
“No one today will give up our sovereignty. We are fighting… because we want to be free, ”Zelenskyy said.
Following one-on-one talks with Duda, Zelenskyy thanked Poland for its strong support for Ukraine’s territorial integrity and for condemning the annexation of Crimea.
Zelenskyy said he invited Duda to ceremonies in August marking the 30th anniversary of Ukraine’s independence and to the accompanying meeting of state leaders to discuss the “desoccupation of Crimea”.
During the presidents’ debate on Monday on the European Union and the pandemic, Zelenskyy said Ukraine, which one day aspires to join the club, said it had not yet received any of the COVID-19 vaccines promised from the EU.
He said only 1 million people in his country over 44 million had been vaccinated.
The five presidents signed a declaration stressing that solidarity between nations is the basis of peace, stability and development in today’s world.
Poland’s 1791 Constitution aimed to strengthen its political system and rule of law and to protect it against aggression from neighboring powers, including Russia.
Historians say the effort came too late and failed to avoid annexations by the Russian, Prussian, and Austrian Empires which in 1795 wiped Poland from the maps for more than a century.
Poland and neighboring Lithuania formed a single state at the time of the 18th century constitution.