VILNIUS - Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius has called on his EU counterparts not to attend the Victory Day parade in Moscow in May, saying the event will mark not only the end of World War II, but also Russia's current "military policy victories".
"Russia likes symbols. The parade that takes place in Moscow in May not just marks the victory in World War II, but also aims to celebrate the victories of Russia's current military policy," he said in a press release on Friday.
According to the Foreign Ministry, Linkevicius voiced his position at Thursday's informal meeting of EU foreign ministers in Zagreb.
He "urged his counterparts to critically assess their plans to pay official visits to Moscow, as Russia exploits its numerous conflicts to give the impression of normal collaboration and succeeds in doing so".
The minister said at the informal discussion that there are no grounds for the EU to change its policy towards Russia which is not changing its foreign policy, continues "to interfere in the affairs of its neighbors and other countries", and has become "even more aggressive" lately.
“Russia is demonstrating its strength not only at the regional but also at the global level. The West cannot rely on its partnership with Russia, which is not involved in conflict resolution, but rather in escalation. We are talking not only about Georgia or Ukraine, but also about the Syrian province of Idlib and the escalation in Libya," he said.
According to the minister, the EU-Russia relations "must continue to be based on five guiding principles agreed in 2016 and reaffirmed by EU member states in 2018".
These include full implementation of the Minsk agreements, closer ties with Russia's neighbors, strengthening EU resilience to energy security, hybrid and strategic communication threats, selective engagement with Russia on a range of global challenges and issues of interest to the EU, and support for people-to-people contacts and Russian civil society, according to the press release.