EU foreign affairs ministers reaffirm their support for Ukraine

  • 2021-04-19
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN - Estonian Foreign Minister Eva-Maria Liimets attended the informal video meeting of EU European affairs ministers on Monday to discuss the situation in Ukraine and Ethiopia and also touch upon events in Georgia, Belarus, Myanmar and Russia.

They discussed Russia's recent actions around Ukraine that have led to a considerable rise in tensions, spokespeople for the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

"The escalation of the situation in Ukraine has a direct impact on the security of our entire region. The European Union must send a strong signal to Russia and the international community that actions of this kind have concrete consequences," Liimets said.

"It is completely in Russia's power to de-escalate the current situation. I emphasized to my colleagues that a unified, clear and straightforward message on Russia is needed now," she added.

The European foreign affairs ministers also exchanged views with Foreign Minister of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba, expressing their full support and solidarity.

"Ukraine should be recognized for its extraordinary restraint in the face of the current escalation, and its progress in reform efforts so far. The European Union unequivocally supports Ukraine's territorial integrity and sovereignty,” the Estonian foreign minister said.

On Sunday, the European Union adopted a joint statement, condemning Russia's actions against opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

"What has happened to Navalny is not an isolated incident, instead, it illustrates the deterioration of the human rights situation and the suppression of the opposition and civil society in Russia," Liimets said. "It is notable how quickly an agreement was found yesterday on the text in support of Navalny, which demonstrates the unity of the European Union on this issue."

"We are also concerned about the continued violation of human rights in Belarus, including charges against journalists, members of NGOs, lawyers and opposition politicians," Liimets said.

The ministers also talked about working on a new package of sanctions with the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada in response to the actions of the Belarusian government.

Liimets also expressed support for the Czech Republic, which last week expelled intelligence officials of the Russian embassy that had acted against the sovereignty and security of the Czech Republic.

The ministers talked about the domestic crisis of Georgia and underlined the European Union's support for Georgia's sovereignty.

They also condemned the continued violence against the people of Myanmar and welcomed additional sanctions against individuals and companies linked to the military coup there.