Thursday

2nd Dec 2021

Lithuanian FM: Ukraine will not attack Russian convoy

  • Linkevicius spoke to EUobserver from Kiev on Friday (Photo: eu2013.lt)

Lithuania’s foreign minister has said Ukraine will not attack Russia’s “aid” convoy, despite its “illegal” and “provocative” nature.

Linas Linkevicius spoke to EUobserver by phone from Kiev on Friday (22 August) after meeting Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko and foreign minister Pavlo Klimkin.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

He said he did not discuss the convoy with the two men directly.

But he added: “As far as I understand, the Ukrainians are not going to escalate the situation any more … they are not going to attack this convoy”.

“We received information from Ukrainian officials that this is really the case - that they are not going to complicate the situation any further. It’s complicated enough”.

Ukrainian authorities say more than 100 Russian lorries, which Moscow claims are carrying humanitarian aid, crossed the border into east Ukraine on Friday without Ukrainian permission and without the approval of the Red Cross.

The BBC reports the trucks are heading toward Luhansk, a city in east Ukraine held by pro-Russia rebels, with a rebel escort.

The move comes amid concerns that Moscow is trying to use the convoy to drag Ukraine into a full-blown conflict with Russia, to stop Ukrainian forces from taking rebel positions, and to make Poroshenko look weak.

The Russian foreign ministry said in a statement on Friday: “We are warning against any attempts to thwart this purely humanitarian mission”.

Ukraine's security chief, Valentyn Nalyvaychenko, called it a "direct invasion" but also promised not to use force.

Linkevicius echoed Nalyvaychenko, telling this website the Russian move is “indeed a provocation”.

Asked how the EU should react, he replied: “In my view, the whole international community should react. It’s a vivid violation of international law, so we cannot just sit and neglect what is happening. It’s important to discuss this issue, to condemn this act, without delay at the [UN] Security Council”.

The Russian "invasion" comes before German leader Angela Merkel’s visit to Kiev on Saturday and before Poroshenko’s meeting with Russian leader Vladimir Putin in Minsk next week.

Linkevicius noted that Merkel’s visit “shows the importance” of the crisis for the EU’s top policy makers.

But he held out little hope the Poroshenko-Putin talks will lead to a diplomatic solution.

“I don’t see any opportunity for a [diplomatic] breakthrough, rather the reverse is happening - the situation is deteriorating”, he said.

Russia relaxes EU food ban, counts costs

Russia has said its ban on EU food imports will cost it “hundreds of billions of rubles”, while taking several items off the blacklist.

Analysis

Can Europe afford a Russia trade war?

One trade expert has described the EU-Russia sanctions war as economic “mutually assured destruction”, but strategic considerations continue to trump financial problems for both sides.

News in Brief

  1. Poland curtails media access to Belarus border
  2. Report: Germany's Scholz 'backs compulsory Covid jabs'
  3. Omicron 'present in Europe at least 10 days ago'
  4. German court finds ex-Islamic State member guilty of genocide
  5. Report: Shell is considering return to Libya
  6. Report: EU to reveal €300bn infrastructure plan
  7. Barbados becomes world's newest republic
  8. Far-right Zemmour will run for French presidency

Opinion

Why Russia politics threaten European security

Russia could expand hostile operations, such as poisonings, including beyond its borders, if it feels an "existential" threat and there is no European pushback.

Analysis

Ten years on from Tahrir: EU's massive missed opportunity

Investing in the Arab world, in a smart way, is also investing in the European Union's future itself. Let's hope that the disasters of the last decade help to shape the neighbourhood policy of the next 10 years.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNew report reveals bad environmental habits
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersImproving the integration of young refugees
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNATO Secretary General guest at the Session of the Nordic Council
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCan you love whoever you want in care homes?
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNineteen demands by Nordic young people to save biodiversity
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersSustainable public procurement is an effective way to achieve global goals

Latest News

  1. No obligation to defend Ukraine from Russia, Nato chief says
  2. EU agency: 'Omicron vaccine' approval to take 3-4 months
  3. Ombudsman launches probe into Commission tobacco lobbying
  4. Lead MEP wants 'mandatory relocation' in EU asylum law
  5. The EU's 'global gateway' - an answer to China, or a dead-end?
  6. Osman Kavala in a Turkish jail - taking injustice personally
  7. Frontex implicated 'to some extent' in violations, says officer
  8. Omicron shows need for pandemic global pact, WHO says

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us