RIGA, Feb 6, BNS - This coming March, three years will have passed since the illegal and illegitimate annexation of Crimea; therefore, the EU should once again express its strong support for Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity, Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics said at the meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council today.
The Latvian Foreign Ministry said Rinkevics had stressed that the implementation of the Minsk agreements was a precondition for preserving Ukraine's territorial integrity and ceasing hostilities in the east of Ukraine. The EU should keep its sanctions policy until the Minsk agreements have been fully implemented.
"Support for Ukraine is a litmus test for the effectiveness of the EU's foreign policy. In light of this, it is essential that the issue is addressed at high-level meetings between the EU and the U.S.," Rinkevics said. The minister also called on the member countries of the Normandy format to make every effort to stop the bloodshed and bring the situation in Avdiivka back to normal.
The Latvian foreign minister also restated his conviction that Ukraine should move ahead with reforms and that the EU is expected to continue providing its support. Reforms in Ukraine should primarily be related to the country and its people. The EU's support and benefits from a closer dialogue with the EU should be clearly demonstrated to the Ukrainian people and, from that perspective, granting visa-free travel is one of such visible contributions, he said.
Rinkevics also called for completion of the ratification of the Association Agreement with Ukraine.