Linas Linkevičius: relations with Ukraine continue to be an important Lithuanian foreign policy priority
On 26 April, Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Linas Linkevičius, continued his visit in Kiev, Ukraine, and met with Prime Minister of Ukraine, Volodymyr Groysman, and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Pavlo Klimkin. A day before, on 25 April, Linas Linkevičius had a meeting with President Petro Poroshenko, whose term as president is coming to an end.
“A democratic presidential election is a credit to the outgoing President and his team. Ukraine has successfully passed a test of democratic maturity. It is important that the forthcoming Verkhovna Rada election should be competitive, free and democratic, too,” Minister Linkevičius noted at the meeting with Petro Poroshenko.
The Lithuanian Foreign Minister assured the Ukrainian President of consistent and on-going Lithuanian support for Ukraine’s pro-western course and implementation of the Ukraine-EU Association Agreement. This is why the timing a visit to Ukraine was of particular importance – immediately after the presidential election.
Minister Linkevičius and Prime Minister Groysman discussed the results of Ukrainian reforms and remaining challenges and underscored the pace of reforms which should not be affected by elections in Ukraine. Linas Linkevičius believes that Ukrainian people deserve a Supreme Anti-Corruption Court, its soonest possible launch, and more rapid reforms in law enforcement and energy. “It is absolutely necessary to ensure a more rapid pace of reforms so that their results are felt by ordinary Ukrainian citizens,” Minister Linkevičius underlined.
At a meeting between the two foreign ministers, Linas Linkevičius and his Ukrainian counterpart talked about the most topical foreign policy issues, the approaching ten-year anniversary of the Eastern Partnership and its goals for the future. Both ministers noted that the Russian decision to grant citizenship to residents of the occupied eastern part of Ukraine under a simplified procedure was a gross violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and the Minsk Agreements. The Lithuanian Minister emphatically noted that Lithuania was going to continue urging the international community to take a proactive stance in protecting Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs strongly condemns the decree by the Russian President Vladimir Putin on a simplified procedure for granting Russian citizenship to Ukrainian citizens, who reside in temporarily occupied Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine. Lithuania maintains that such a move is an illegal interference into Ukraine’s internal affairs and a violation of its territorial integrity.
On 3 April in Washington, the USA, on the margins of the NATO's 70th anniversary events, Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Linas Linkevičius met with Vice Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration of Ukraine Ivana Klympush-Cincadze and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia David Zalkaliani.
Lithuania strongly supports Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity. We condemn the ongoing military aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine that flagrantly violates international law, the Charter of the United Nations, the provisions of the Helsinki Final Act, and bilateral agreements between Ukraine and Russia. We will continue to support Ukraine and coherently implement the policy of non-recognition of the illegal annexation and occupation of Crimea five years ago.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania allocated EUR 30 thousand in humanitarian aid to Ukraine which will be transferred to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). This contribution is another step in implementing the Humanitarian Response Plan for Ukraine initiated by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) that amounts to USD 187 million in 2018, however, has been implemented by only 38 per cent so far.
On 12 December, marking the 27th anniversary of the establishment of Lithuanian-Ukrainian diplomatic relations Minister Linas Linkevičius opened in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs the exhibition of paintings and posters by Ukrainian children dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the statehood of Lithuania. Two new publications featuring the history of Lithuania and Ukraine were presented during the opening of the exhibition.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania strongly condemns illegitimate “voting” conducted by the so-called “Donetsk People’s Republic” and “Luhansk People’s Republic” on 11 November that is contrary to norms of international law.