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Russia says European powers should counterbalance 'aggressive' Poland, Baltics

FILE PHOTO: Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy welcomes Poland's President Duda as Lithuanian President Nauseda looks on, in Lviv

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia said on Tuesday that calls by the president of Lithuania to supply Ukraine with fighter planes highlighted the "extremely aggressive position" of the Baltic states and Poland, and that "major European countries" should counterbalance their stance.

Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda said on Monday that NATO should stop drawing "red lines" and should supply Ukraine with whatever weapons it needed, including fighter jets and long-range missiles.

Asked about those comments, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters: "In general, we see an extremely aggressive position from representatives of the Baltic countries and Poland. They are apparently ready to do anything to provoke the growth of further confrontation, with little regard for the consequences."

He added: "Of course, it is very sad that under these conditions the leaders of major European countries, who drive all European processes, unfortunately do not play a balancing role."

Nauseda's call followed decisions last week by Germany and the United States to supply battle tanks to Ukraine, a move Russia described as an escalation of the conflict.

The Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia - all ruled by Moscow until they broke away from the Soviet Union in 1991 - have strongly backed Ukraine, supporting its argument that it needs more advanced Western weapons as soon as possible in order to head off a feared new Russian offensive.

Moscow sent tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24 last year in what it called a "special military operation."

(Reporting by Reuters; Editing by Andrew Osborn)