Saturday

28th May 2016

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.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

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.

News in Brief

  1. Syrian refugees sue Denmark over immigration law
  2. Ukraine bans Gorbachev for backing Crimea's seizure
  3. Dozens dead in two shipwrecks outside Libya
  4. Slovak PM says his country is no place for Muslims
  5. Juncker's spin-doctor warns of populist 'horror'
  6. EU urges Hungary to end discrimination of Roma children
  7. Majority of voters think UK will stay in EU
  8. Leading MEP says Greek bailout will not work

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. ACCAEducation and Training 2020 - Giving Young People the Workplace Skills They Need
  2. EPSUTrade Unions Back New Undeclared Work Platform
  3. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceCould targeting children’s fitness boost academic performance?
  4. World VisionDeclares the World Humanitarian Summit a Positive Step in a Longer Journey to Ending Need
  5. EJCPresident Dr. Moshe Kantor on Brexit and the Jewish Question
  6. Swedish EnterprisesNew rules for posted workers - Better Protection or the End of Posting ?
  7. World VisionWhy The EU Needs to Put Children at the Centre of Emergencies - In Their Words
  8. ACCASustainability Reporting in Danger of Losing Its Momentum Says ACCA and CDSB
  9. Dialogue PlatformDiversity as Heritage of Humanity! Join the “Colors of the World“ Show at the EP
  10. Centre Maurits CoppietersNew Responses to the Basque Peace Process? MEP Juaristi on Stateless Challenges Conference
  11. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceImproving Cardiovascular Health Begins by Closing the Gap in Sex Disparities
  12. IPHRBrussels Talks to Take Stock of Human Rights in Turkmenistan