Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Dick Durbin (D-IL), Co-Chairs of the Senate Baltic Freedom Caucus, yesterday met with members of the Lithuanian Parliament and Lithuanian Ambassador to the U.S. Audra Plepyte to discuss President Biden’s newly announced decision to move 3,000 troops to Germany, Poland and Romania to deter Russian aggression aimed at Ukraine and the region. The senators heard from the Lithuanian Parliament members about recent Russian cyberattacks against the Baltic States to sow distrust in Eastern Europe against the U.S. and concerns about the nearly 130,000 Russian troops built up near the Ukrainian border.
“Lithuanians never gave up on freedom during 50 years of Soviet occupation, and the United States continued to recognize the sovereignty of all three Baltic nations during that time. During a period of renewed Russian aggression against sovereign nations, their insights are particularly valuable. Our bipartisan meeting shows that no domestic political disagreements will get in the way of keeping our promises, and sends a strong unified signal about our unwavering support for our NATO allies and the principles of self-determination in the face of Russian aggression on the Ukrainian border,” Grassley said.
“This bipartisan conversation with the Lithuanian Parliamentarians was especially important following President Biden’s announcement that more U.S. troops will be deployed to Eastern Europe. Time and time again, Lithuania has proved itself to be a champion of freedom and democracy. Today, in the face of Russian aggression and Chinese economic intimidation, is no different. As Co-Chair of the Senate Baltic Freedom Caucus, I will continue to be an outspoken ally to the Lithuanian people and the nation’s Baltic neighbors as they work to uphold these values in an increasingly tense situation,” Durbin said.
During the meeting, the senators also offered their support to Lithuania as the nation faces economic bullying from the Chinese government for improving diplomatic ties with Taiwan. As a result of Lithuania’s growing relationship with Taiwan, China has imposed an embargo against Lithuania and recalled its ambassador.
This week, Grassley and Durbin introduced a resolution to celebrate 100 years of diplomatic relations between the U.S. and the Baltic States, expressing explicit support for Lithuania in the face of Russian aggression and Chinese economic bullying.