The Lithuanian president on Thursday said Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin’s death does not improve regional security, public broadcaster LRT reported.
“Prigozhin’s death, if it is indeed confirmed, does not change much,” said Gitanas Nauseda. “It demonstrates that the [Russian] regime is entering another stage and that these people, whatever you may call them, are now killing each other, but we should certainly not think that this death of Prigozhin makes us feel calmer or that it somehow improves the security situation."
Nauseda said Wagner's primary goal was to destabilize the region and stage provocations.
“Against this background, our sacred duty is to protect the security of our borders because today it is the most important thing, and to be ready, without any doubt, to defend our security with our loyal partners,” he said.
Many European countries have been warning of risks that the group could pose since its fighters moved to Belarus, a Russian ally, after a short-lived mutiny in Russia in June.
Vilnius and Warsaw had earlier suggested that Wagner mercenaries could help facilitate illegal migration from Belarus.
Last week, Lithuania closed two out of six its border checkpoints with Belarus.
Russian authorities have confirmed Prigozhin was on board a plane that crashed outside Moscow on Wednesday, with President Vladimir Putin expressing his condolences to the families of the victims. He described Prigozhin as a "talented man" with a "difficult fate."
New military aid package for Ukraine
Meanwhile, the Lithuanian Defense Ministry announced it is sending a new package of military assistance to Ukraine worth €45 million ($44 million), including ammunition for infantry weapons rifles, maritime surveillance radar kits, generators, anti-drones systems as well as launchers for NASAMS air-defense missiles.
According to the ministry, Lithuania handed over Mi-8 helicopters, L-70 anti-aircraft guns with ammunition, M113 armored personnel carriers, millions of rounds of ammunition, and grenade launcher ammunition to Ukraine in the first seven months of this year.Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.