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Kremlin signing up local troops in Ukraine

Apr 15, 2014
From wire reports, VILNIUS

Local residents recruited by Russians are seizing governmental buildings in eastern Ukraine, says Lithuanian Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevicius, and he stresses the need to impose real, not declarative sanctions on Russia, reports ELTA.

"Russia's military aggression is expressed in east Ukraine by using recruited, in my opinion, local residents, and not the protests of pro-Russian local residents or separatists," said the prime minister in an interview with the national radio LRT on Tuesday, April 15.

According to Butkevicius, the current Ukrainian government has taken the necessary and justified actions. Lithuania, as a member of the European Union (EU), will adhere to the common decisions adopted in the Foreign Affairs Council meeting. The prime minister expressed hope that sanctions against Russia would be discussed at the summit of EU leaders as well. However, according to him these sanctions have to be real, not declarative.

"Yet I think that these measures should be seen and felt, it should be more than some adopted declarations, which give no influence in controlling the current processes in Ukraine," underlined Butkevicius.

The Foreign Affairs Council meeting on Monday in Luxembourg, which was also attended by the Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Linas Linkevicius, approved macro-financial assistance of up to 1 billion euros to support Ukraine's economic stabilization and reforms, and adopted the Regulation on the reduction or elimination of customs duties on Ukrainian goods.

In response to events in eastern Ukraine over recent days, the foreign ministers adopted a decision to expand the list of Russian officials subject to targeted restrictive measures and responsible for actions which undermined Ukraine's territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence.

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