Foreign Minister Linkevicius calls for tougher sanctions on Russia amidst increased fighting in Eastern Ukraine

  • 2015-08-14

Following a meeting with Ukrainian leaders on August 11, 2015, Lithuania's Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius said intensive shootouts continue in Eastern Ukraine regardless of the Minsk Agreement ceasefire.

Linkevicius also urged NATO and European Union member states to step up the sanctions imposed on Russia.

"The shooting is three times more frequent than it was after the last round of the Minsk ceasefire negotiations," Linkevicius told BNS after a meeting with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.

"Two soldiers were again killed today, many were injured. The intensity is high, and the statements about some de-escalation is not true,” he continued. 

On August 11, Ukrainian authorities reported pro-Russian rebels had fired shots at Ukrainian Army soldiers 153 times - the largest military action since the February ceasefire.

According to the report, the clashes are in relation to the road between the Ukrainain-controlled port of Mariupol, and the city of Donetsk, which is controlled by the separatists.

The separatists claim one civilian was killed in Donetsk during the shoot-out with the Ukrainian Army. 

According to Linkevicius, the clashes should be viewed as a signal to consider further sanctions on Moscow.

"All sanctions must be extended, and if the situation changes for the worse, they should be tightened,” he added.

“We know the decisions are made by consensus, which is not easy to achieve.

"It is a signal that we should take the measures of impact seriously, and we do not have very many alternatives. Without sanctions, we have no other ways of influencing this. 

“Theoretically, there could be political isolation, which is also not the case due to possible inconsistency of some of our colleagues within the European Union.”

Linkevicius said the meeting with the Ukrainian President and Prime Minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, addressed the reforms underway in Ukraine, support from Lithuania and the EU, plus the negotiations on visa-free travels.

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