VILNIUS - Speaking on behalf of Lithuania and Latvia, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis in a virtual meeting of EU and Japanese foreign ministers on Monday voiced concerns over close cooperation between China and Russia.
EU foreign ministers discussed geopolitical challenges in the Indo-Pacific region during a virtual meeting with their Japanese counterpart, Toshimitsu Motegi, the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry said.
"On behalf of Lithuania and Latvia, Landsbergis voiced his concerns about the especially close cooperation between China and Russia, hybrid threats, and highlighted the balancing role of the EU-Japan cooperation in ensuring regional security, as well as the importance of transatlantic cooperation," it said in a press release.
EU foreign ministers also discussed the bloc's response to Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny's detention, the strategy for sharing COVID-19 vaccines with eastern partners, relations with the new US administration, the situation in Venezuela and Hong Kong, and other foreign policy issues.
"When speaking about Russia’s opposition leader Navalny, Landsbergis stressed that the Kremlin’s obvious strategy was to eliminate all those who posed a threat to Vladimir Putin and that the EU should not limit itself solely to political statements about systematic human rights violations," the ministry said.
“The Kremlin is afraid that change is in the air. And Navalny, who almost died after being poisoned, symbolizes the change that is expected," it quoted Landsbergis as saying.
"We must react decisively to his detention. The EU must continue to negotiate and reach a common agreement on restrictive measures against those responsible for the detention of Navalny," the minister said.
"Human rights violations can neither be tolerated in Moscow, nor Minsk, nor Hong Kong," he said, calling "for using a new instrument – the EU's global human rights sanctions regime – to that end."
Landsbergis underlined that "the EU must continue to maintain a balanced and principled policy towards Russia", according to the press release.