Saturday

26th May 2018

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.

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.

Analysis

Good day for Russia in Europe

Russian firm Gazprom is a reformed character, the EU commission has said, improving the climate for new pipelines to Europe.

Analysis

EU has no 'magic bullet' against US Iran sanctions

EU leaders in Sofia will discuss how they can protect the bloc's economic interests against US threats to sanction companies doing business in Iran. But their options are limited.

Opinion

Ratifying CETA after 'Achmea scandal' is anti-European

While few people in Europe have heard of the 'Achmea' ruling, the case will have far-reaching consequences. Member states must understand the implications of the case quickly - especially those considering ratifying the EU-Canada trade agreement.

News in Brief

  1. Italy set to pick eurosceptic finance minister
  2. UK foreign minister fooled by Russian pranksters
  3. Rajoy ally gets 33 years in jail for corruption
  4. Close race as polls open in Irish abortion referendum
  5. Gazprom accepts EU conditions on gas supplies
  6. Facebook tells MEPs: non-users are not profiled
  7. Commission proposes ending France deficit procedure
  8. UK households hit with Brexit income loss

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceEuropean Ombudsman requests more lending transparency from European Investment Bank
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersOECD Report: Gender Equality Boosts GDP Growth in Nordic Region
  3. Centre Maurits Coppieters“Peace and reconciliation is a process that takes decades” Dr. Anthony Soares on #Brexit and Northern Ireland
  4. Mission of China to the EUMEPs Positive on China’s New Measures of Opening Up
  5. Macedonian Human Rights MovementOld White Men are Destroying Macedonia by Romanticizing Greece
  6. Counter BalanceControversial EIB-Backed Project Under Fire at European Parliament
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersIncome Inequality Increasing in Nordic Countries
  8. European Jewish CongressEU Leaders to Cease Contact with Mahmoud Abbas Until He Apologizes for Antisemitic Comments
  9. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual Report celebrates organization’s tenth anniversary
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Cooperation Needed on Green Exports and Funding
  11. Mission of China to the EUPremier Li Confirms China Will Continue to Open Up
  12. European Jewish CongressCalls on Brussels University to Revoke Decision to Honour Ken Loach