RIGA - Russia has been breaking agreements it signs already since the Middle Ages, commenting on the Russian missile strikes that targeted Odesa after the signing of a grain export agreement, Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics (New Unity) said in an interview with Latvian Television.
The Latvian minister doubts that anyone had entertained the illusions that Russia will honor the agreement on Ukrainian grain export. "Since the Middle Ages, Russia - whether an empire or a federation - has had a long history of signing documents only to breech them soon afterwards. The most outrageous case in recent decades is the Budapest Memorandum, which Russia signed to guarantee Ukraine's territorial integrity," Rinkevics said.
Rinkevics understands why the UN, Turkey and other countries are backing the agreement on grain export - the problem is becoming increasingly pressing as grain shortages can lead to famine in many regions of the world, which in turn can result in security risks and fresh migration waves threatening Europe.
In the situation where Russia has targeted Odesa with missile strikes following the grain export agreement, thus showing that it is an unreliable partner, Russia has lost credibility in the eyes not only of Western but also other countries. Whether this agreement can still be saved will become clear soon, Rinkevics said, adding that he is skeptical about it.
"If the process gets underway and Ukraine tries to carry through with it, it will relieve the anxiety about food supplies. This is important, because the UN member states must support Ukraine and condemn Russian aggression," the minister said.
Rinkevics expects the upcoming meeting between the Russian and Turkish presidents to address the grain exports among other issues, because Turkey has invested a significant political capital in the agreement. The two sides might also discuss the Syrian issue.
Commenting on the Russian note to Latvia over Latvian border guards' treatment of Russian citizens entering Latvia, Rinkevics said that "Latvia acts in accordance with its laws, and protesting over what we do or not do in our territory to protect our security is pointless. We will keep acting in accordance with our security interests," Rinkevics said, adding that Latvia, too, knows of instances where Russian or Belarusian authorities have tried to recruit Latvian citizens visiting these countries, which is unacceptable. "Now is not a time for tourism and business contacts," the minister concluded.