Linkevicius: EU must keep Russian sanctions amid unpredictable situation in Ukraine

  • 2017-02-07
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS - As the situation in Eastern Ukraine remains unpredictable, Europe must at least keep in place the existing sanctions against Russia, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius said.

Linkevicius, in Brussels for a meeting of EU foreign ministers, said that despite a slight improvement, the situation in Avdiivka, a town near Donetsk and Mariupol, is very unstable.

"We see that this is a highly unpredictable situation. It is still highly unpredictable because of the huge concentration of heavy weapons on the border. It could be used anytime. Frankly speaking, Avdiivka can be repeated at any other place at any moment," he told reporters.

According to Linkevicius, Europe must maintain a joint stance regarding the aggression against Ukraine and take efforts to ensure that the negotiation process makes headway and achieves "irreversible" results".

"The sanctions must be preserved, to say the least. We see no reasons why we should we lift the review," he said when asked about the sanctions against Russia.

Ukrainian officials and Russian-backed separatists confirmed that at least 35 people had been killed in Avdiivka last weekend, a level of bloodshed unseen since the height of the conflict in 2015.

Russia, Ukraine and separatists agreed on a Sunday midnight deadline for the withdrawal of all heavy weapons from the industrial town of 25,000 on the front line of the latest fighting.