EU ministers' talks on Ukraine 'stuck in cold mud', Lithuanian formin says

  • 2022-12-12
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – Talks on further support for Kyiv and sanctions against Russia over its war against Ukraine are "stuck in the cold mud", Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said ahead Monday's meeting of the EU's Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels. 

"There is not a single more important issue than Russia's war against Ukraine. Unfortunately, with many things that we have to discuss it feels as if we're a little bit stuck in the cold mud," Landsbergis told reporters in the Belgian capital.

"Hopefully, we're not frozen in that mud when it comes to sanctions, when it comes to macro-financial assistance to Ukraine and weapon deliveries," the minister said.  

"My real hope is that we're not waiting for something additionally horrible to happen in Ukraine for us to get unstuck," he added. 

The Lithuanian Foreign Ministry has said that the Council is expected to discuss the bloc's "further macro-financial and military assistance to Ukraine" as well as "Russia's accountability for war crimes and crimes against humanity, and the crime of aggression".

Lithuania is sticking to its position that more sanctions must be imposed and that more assistance, including military aid, especially heavy weapons, must be provided to Ukraine, according to Landsbergis.

"It feels as if we're stuck on basically every conversation that we're having on Ukraine," he said.  

The minister also said that "from the very beginning Lithuania was not supportive of derogations, even though some of the derogations could have made our situation possibly easier". 

"We thought that sanctions are there for a reason; they're not there to be avoided or eased," he said. "So yes, we're participating in the discussion, we're trying to maintain unanimity but definitely we're not in favor of derogations.".

Officials say that decisions on financial support for Ukraine have recently been blocked by Budapest which is seeking to prevent the freezing of EU funds for Hungary over rule of law and corruption concerns.

On the margins of the Council, a meeting of foreign ministers of the EU Eastern Partnership countries is scheduled to take place.

It will "focus on the future challenges of the Eastern Partnership and ways to strengthen cooperation between the EU and the Eastern partners in the context of Russia's aggression against Ukraine", according to the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry. 

"When it comes to membership status, it is unfortunate to see Georgia and other Eastern partnership countries, Moldova and Ukraine, standing on the separate rail tracks," Landsbergis told reporters in Brussels. 

"The key to going back to the same faster track to the EU remains in the hands of the Georgian government," the minister said.

"I would definitely very much like to see the Georgian government acting more proactively with more vigor, more power and more determination to get moving to the candidate status. So far, we have not seen very encouraging steps," he added.  

Other topics to be discussed by EU foreign ministers include the human rights situation and ongoing protests in Iran, and the situation in Moldova, Kosovo, Tunisia, and Yemen.