In an interview with The Associated Press on Monday, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis called for regime change in Moscow, urging NATO to take a tougher stance on Russia.
Landsbergis claimed the only way to protect regional countries from Moscow was by removing Russian President Vladimir Putin and the entire Russian government.
“From our standpoint, up until the point the current regime is not in power, the countries surrounding it will be, to some extent, in danger. Not just Putin but the whole regime because, you know, one might change Putin and might change his inner circle but another Putin might rise into his place,” he said.
Landsbergis’s comments mark a significant escalation in rhetoric from a NATO country toward Russia. In March, President Biden said Putin “cannot remain in power,” but the White House quickly downplayed his comments, saying the US is not seeking regime change in Moscow.
Lithuania and its fellow Baltic states of Latvia and Estonia are seeking an increased NATO military presence in the region. Landsbergis said the three nations will express this to NATO leaders during an upcoming summit in Madrid this June.
“It has to be reflected that NATO has to change its posture in eastern flank more. In the Baltic states we kind of we feel that we are approaching this point where we are more and more resembling the feeling of West Berlin and during the years of the Cold War,” Landsbergis said.