Staunton, May 10 – Individuals from many countries and especially from those who escaped Moscow’s rule in 1991 have gone to Ukraine to fight against Russian aggression. But now, Lithuanian interior minister Agnė Bilotaitė has called for Western countries to take the next step, one short of direct NATO intervention but perhaps opening the way to that.
She has called for the formation of an international unit of sappers to help Ukraine remove Russian mines. Such military specialists would be drawn from the armies of European countries (lrt.lt/naujienos/lietuvoje/2/1690935/bilotaite-svarstome-galimybe-skirti-papildomu-isminuotoju-ukrainai-inicijuosime-tarptautini-sprendima).
Because such specialists would be engaged in something short of direct military action, at least some other countries would likely to willing to consider what is certainly a humanitarian effort. But Moscow would be certain to view this as a “hybrid” form of NATO involvement and react in an extremely negative way.
Moscow’s probable reaction means that this Lithuanian proposal may never take off, but its appearance alone suggests just how many people and senior officials in Europe are thinking about new ways to help Ukraine as the Russian invasion of that country grinds on into its third month with no end in sight.