Moscow claims to defend Russian-speakers in Ukraine ‘worrying’, says Lithuanian FM

On Monday, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis will take part in a video conference of EU foreign affairs ministers to discuss Russia’s military build-up near Ukraine’s borders, as well as the health of the Kremlin’s critic Alexei Navalny.

Foreign affairs ministers will also have an opportunity to hold an online exchange of views with their Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba and will also discuss a possible joint EU response, focusing on the EU’s possibility of deepening cooperation with Ukraine

Landsbergis will also share the latest news from Kyiv after visiting the Ukrainian capital with his Latvian and Estonian counterparts last Thursday, and will also propose to take “immediate action”.

According to the Lithuanian foreign minister, Russia clearly demonstrates a reluctance to seek a peaceful political solution to the war in eastern Ukraine and continues to refuse to recognise its role in this conflict.

The Baltic and Ukrainian foreign ministers in Kyiv. / Lithuanian Foreign Ministry

Russia’s statements about its readiness to defend the rights of the Russian-speaking minority in eastern Ukraine are “worrying”.

“There is no positive change in Crimea. Russia has further consolidated the annexation of Crimea, the human rights situation is catastrophic, and the militarisation of the peninsula is continuing,” Landsbergis said.

Lithuania’s foreign minister will address the issue concerning the unlawfully jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s significantly worsening health in the penal colony and will propose that the EU should take immediate measures.

The foreign minister of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania depart to Kyiv, Ukraine. / D. Umbrasas/LRT

“The Kremlin continues a liquidation campaign against Navalny, ignoring his appeals for appropriate medical treatment. If the international community does not respond, the regime’s opposition leader will be sent silently to his death. The Kremlin indiscriminately and unscrupulously seeks to destroy all those who dare to oppose the Kremlin,” the minister said before the meeting.

During the informal Foreign Affairs Council meeting, foreign ministers will also discuss the results of the European Union Monitoring Mission in Georgia, the deteriorating security, humanitarian and human rights situation in Ethiopia, and the destabilising effects of the crisis in Tigray across the Horn of Africa region and beyond.

(c) LRT

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