Lithuania's Landsbergis calls on EU to continue supporting Ukraine, pressuring Russia

  • 2022-03-16
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabriel Landsbergis, currently in Ukraine, has called on the European Union to continue supporting Kyiv and putting further pressure on Russia after it invaded Ukraine, adding that the process is just starting.

"Not all countries are willing to help yet. They need to be urged, they need to be reminded that this is just the beginning, just the first kilometers of the marathon. This needs to be made very clear to our colleagues in Brussels, and I have promised to do so," Landsbergis told BNS by phone after his visit on Tuesday.

In Ukraine, he met with his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba, other Ukrainian politicians and officials and they discussed ways to support Ukraine facing the invasion by Russia.

Also, the minister said, the EU must impose new sanctions for Russia and introduce an embargo on imports of energy resources from this country and disconnect all banks from the SWIFT payment system.

"We cannot stop after he started running. Russia is not yet cut off from financial resources", Landsbergis said. "That money is going back to Russia for soldiers' salaries, ammunition or explosives. Obviously, this cannot continue."

As EU leaders las week spoke in favor of Ukraine's EU integration, the Lithuanian foreign minister says the European Commission must not "put Kyiv's application to join the bloc in a drawer".

"Political statements must be accompanied by administrative and practical decisions by the Commission. There must be guidelines on Ukraine's candidate status, when it will be granted, in what form it will be granted. We want to see this", Landsbergis said.

He said he would raise these issues at next week's meeting of EU foreign ministers.

Following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the EU earlier froze the assets of the central Bank of Russia, imposed trade restrictions, cut off some Russian and Belarusian banks from the SWIFT payment system, and blacklisted several thousand officials and oligarchs from both countries.

Lithuania is one of the most active supporters of granting EU candidate status to Ukraine.