Lithuanian Defense Minister: Russia wants to sow discord in NATO with its proposal about flights over the Baltic
According to Lithuanian Defense Minister Juozas Olekas, Russia wants to sow discord among NATO states with its proposal for the safety of aircraft flying over the Baltic Sea, Postimees reported.
"There an attempt [to apply] ‘divide and rule’ could be made,'' Olekas said.
According to the Minister, the issue of flights of Russian aircraft with transponders turned on should be decided not on the bilateral level but on the international. "I think that their [proposals] should be discussed in complex. Such a format which we could use to talk nicely about all issues is the Vienna Document. We have repeatedly offered Russia to discuss and agree on its renewal," he explained.
Olekas noted that Moscow’s behavior is "speculative". "They kind of 'throw us a bone'. Initially, Russia unilaterally broke our agreement on the exchange of information, it should also be restored little by little, if we want to do something, and then look in the future. All what they don't like, they cast aside and try to offer something with which is possible to speculate, but in things that we offer, they do not participate," the Minister said.
Russian Ministry of Defense in early August reported that it has invited North Atlantic Alliance experts to Moscow for talks on the possibility of flights in the Baltic Sea region with transponders enabled for all military aircraft.
NATO claims that Russian military aircraft flying with disabled transponders pose a threat to civil aviation.