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Media: Nauseda leads Lithuanian presidential race, pledges stronger support for Ukraine

Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda secures 44% of votes, heads to runoff election amidst security tensions.
Presidents Andrzej Duda of Poland, Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine, and Gitanas Nausėda of Lithuania. Photo: Twitter/Gitanas Nauseda
Media: Nauseda leads Lithuanian presidential race, pledges stronger support for Ukraine

Incumbent Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda is on track for another term in office after winning the largest share of votes in the country’s presidential election, according to Politico.

Lithuanians cast their ballots amid a backdrop of security concerns in the region and Russia’s advances in Ukraine. Lithuania, a NATO member since 2004, borders the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad and Belarus.

Nausėda took nearly 44 percent of the vote in the initial round, while Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė attained 20 percent, according to electoral commission data. Since no candidate attained a clear majority, they will advance to a runoff election scheduled for 26 May.

Speaking to reporters after the voting ended, Nauseda committed to maintaining pressure on Western allies to enhance military assistance for Ukraine. Last month, Lithuanian Defense announced in a press release it delivered an unspecified number of M577 armored personnel carriers to the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

“Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy already said it all. They don’t need our declarations of goodwill; they are of no use in a fight – they need air defenses … Until they have air defenses, Ukraine will stay vulnerable,” Nausėda claimed.

Many voters fear that the Baltics, which are now NATO and EU members but were once under Moscow’s rule, could be targets of Russian aggression.

However, the latest survey found that only over half of Lithuanians believe a Russian attack is possible or even likely. Lithuanian intelligence reported in March that Russia was strengthening its military capabilities along its NATO border.

Despite Western warnings, Moscow regularly dismisses the idea of attacking a NATO member, reported Reuters.

Still, tensions remain high. Most candidates in Sunday’s election, including Simonyte and Nauseda, told the national broadcaster that they store food at home in case of a military conflict.

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