VILNIUS – As some EU states propose exemptions for fertilizer and grain exports in the latest sanction package for Russia, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda says Lithuania and some of its partners object to this proposal and he vows raise the issue at the European Council.
"The sanction issue is not on the EC agenda, but the president will raise this issue during the leaders' discussion," Tomas Berzinskas, a presidential adviser, told BNS on Thursday.
Nauseda himself stressed that food security should not be a cover for weakening sanctions for Russia.
"The 9th sanction package is on its way. Food security shouldn't be used as cover for weakening our sanctions! Sanctioned Russian oligarchs should not get access to their frozen funds and continue building wealth while Ukrainian civilians are dying under Russian bombs," Nauseda tweeted ahead of the EC meeting.
According to Berzinskas, the president expects a decision on the 9th sanction package to be made soon in the Committee of the Permanent Representatives of the Governments of the Member States to the European Union (COREPER).
Speaking to reporters ahead of the EC meeting in Brussels, Nauseda stressed that support for Ukraine remains a priority on the political agenda, and he welcomed the decision to include Lithuania's proposals on 200 legal and natural persons, four "disinformation channels" and three banks in the EU's 9th sanction package for Russia.
"We are a little bit concerned about attempts to relax the mechanism of sanctions with the cover of food security. Food security is important, but it should not be used as an excuse for relaxation of sanctions," the Lithuanian leader said.
Earlier in the day, the Baltic states and Poland on Thursday blocked the adoption of new sanctions for Russia over the exemptions for grain and fertilizer exports, proposed by Western countries, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis says, adding that the exemptions proposed by Germany, France and the Netherlands could provide a loophole to circumvent sanctions.
The Financial Times reports that Germany, France and the Netherlands proposed the exemptions to the sanctions, and some other Western European countries also expressing their backing.