Lithuanian PM calls European ministers' meetings with Lavrov 'a regrettable choice'

  • 2024-03-04
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte on Monday criticized the Slovak and Hungarian foreign ministers' meeting with their Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov as "a regrettable choice".  

"As to the meeting with Mr. Lavrov, I'd say it is a regrettable choice," she said at a press conference in Vilnius.

Slovak Foreign Minister Juraj Blanar and Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto met with Lavrov last week at an annual diplomatic forum in the Mediterranean resort of Antalya.

Speaking at the joint press conference with Simonyte in Vilnius, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said that the meeting with Lavrov was not just "an expression of good or bad taste".

"This is yet another sign from the Hungarian government, which we find difficult to accept for moral and political reasons," he said.

The Polish prime minister said that after a recent Visegrad Four meeting, he formed his "own impression" about the leaders' attitudes toward Russia. 

"When it comes to the issue of Russia, these are not optimistic observations or an optimistic opinion, because our colleagues in Bratislava and Budapest once again prove that our opinions on certain issues are too different, and the same can be said about Russia and its actions in Ukraine," Tusk said. 

"I hope that such incomprehensible gestures, words and decisions that we witness, if we talk about Bratislava and Budapest, are accidental," the Polish prime minister said.

"Sooner or later that opinion (will change) and we will have the feeling that we can rely on Poland's southern partners, who share our sense of threat and are our allies," he said.

Hungary is the only EU member state that has maintained ties with Moscow in the wake of its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, and Slovakia became critical of support for Ukraine after Robert Fico became prime minister last year.

Lavrov visited Turkey last week for a diplomatic forum aimed at reviving stalled peace talks between Moscow and Ukraine and finding ways to ensure safe navigation in the Black Sea.

Since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022, Ankara has maintained ties with both Moscow and Kyiv.