VILNIUS - Russia will be unable to sustain its military capabilities due to tough Western sanctions, German Chancel-lor Olaf Scholz said Tuesday.

Western countries have hit Russia with a swathe of sanctions since its invasion of the Ukraine, with Scholz asserting that the “very effective, very-far reaching” injunctions would set the Russian economy back “by decades.” “ Russia will not be able to participate in the progress of the world, in eco-nomic and technical progress. That is becoming clearer every day, and it is a significant detriment,“ the Chancel-lor said at a press conference during his visit to the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius for a meeting with the heads of the Baltic states. Scholz added that even if Russia abused imports of civilian goods for military purposes, Moscow will also not be able to retain its military capa-bilities the same way due to the sanc-tions.

In his first visit to a NATO country that borders Russia, the Chancellor also joined leaders from Estonia and Lat-via in promising to strengthen NATO’s eastern flank by pledging to bolster Germany’s military support to Lithuania.

“As allies in NATO, we are committed to each other and will defend every inch of NATO territory in the event of an attack,“ Scholz added, speaking alongside Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda, Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas and Latvian Prime Minister Arturs Krisjanis Karins.