Lithuania to declare state of emergency

The parliament will later pass the measure in special session

The president of Lithuania has issued a decree to declare a state of emergency in the Baltic nation as Russia carries out an attack in Ukraine.

Speaking on Thursday, Gitanas Nauseda revealed what measures Vilnius will take to protect itself against any potential aggression from Moscow.

“Today, I have signed a decree on introducing the state of emergency, which will be passed by the parliament in an extraordinary session,” he said.

“We are talking about Lithuania’s external security and we are obliged to do everything we can to guarantee it without the slightest doubts,” Nauseda insisted.

The move comes after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that he had ordered his country’s military to carry out a “special operation” in the Donbass after the leaders of the breakaway republics called on Moscow for assistance to counter what they claim is an uptick in “Ukrainian aggression.

He insisted that Russia has “no plans to occupy Ukrainian territory,” but said that he wanted to “demilitarize” and “de-Nazify” a neighboring country. Shortly after the address, a series of explosions struck sites across the Eastern European nation, including military installations and airfields. Blasts were also heard around major cities, including the capital, Kiev.

Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmitry Kuleba, issued a statement in which he declared that Moscow “has just launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.” According to him, “this is a war of aggression…the world can and must stop Putin. The time to act is now.”

Earlier this week, the Russian president signed the “immediate” recognition of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics’ independence. The two territories broke off from Kiev in 2014, following the events of the Maidan, when violent street protests toppled the elected government in Ukraine.

Western officials have been warning for months that Moscow’s armed forces are amassing at the Ukrainian border to invade the country. Russia has so far denied that it plans to attack, and insists its actions in the Donbass will be defensive.

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