Baltics, Ukraine call on Russia to cease provocations

  • 2021-04-15
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – The Baltic states and Ukraine have issued a joint statement urging Russia to cease its provocations through its military build-up at the Ukrainian border.

Issued after the Lithuanian, Latvian, Estonian and Ukrainian foreign ministers' meeting in Kiev, the statement says that the countries "express our unwavering support to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders".

Moreover, the countries said they support Ukraine's Euro-Atlantic integration aspiration and "encourage Ukraine to continue necessary reforms in this respect",

"We deplore the ongoing Russian build-up and concentration of military forces in close proximity to the Ukrainian borders, and in the occupied and illegally annexed Crimean peninsula.

We call upon Russia to cease its provocations as well as to dispel all concerns by being fully transparent in accordance to the risk reduction mechanism under Vienna document and uphold OSCE principles and commitments," the statement reads.

The states also commended Ukraine "for its steadfast commitment to the political solution of the conflict".

"We are committed to foster and intensify our bilateral and multilateral cooperation in the sphere of security and defense, exchange of information, fighting aggressive propaganda and disinformation, hybrid threats and coordinate efforts to address common challenges in the field of energy security," the document reads.

Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian Foreign Ministers Gabrielius Landsbergis, Edgars Rinkevics and Eva-Maria Liimets flew to Kiev on Thursday to demonstrate solidarity amid rising tensions with Russia.

Ukraine is accusing Russia of amassing thousands of troops near its eastern border and in the annexed Crimea. Reports on such a military-build-up followed a rise in bloody clashes with Russia-supported separatists.

Meanwhile, Moscow says it has sent troops to its western border for "exercises" in response to NATO's "threatening" actions.

The White House said last week more Russian troops are now deployed near the Ukrainian border than any time since 2014 when the conflict broke out following Moscow's occupation of the Crimean peninsula.

Ukraine has been fighting pro-Russian separatists in the east of the country since 2014 when Moscow annexed Crimea.