22nd Oct 2016

Lithuanian FM: Ukraine will not attack Russian convoy

  • Linkevicius spoke to EUobserver from Kiev on Friday (Photo:

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. Canada and Wallonia end talks without Ceta deal
  2. Juncker hopes for Canada accord in 'next few days'
  3. Romania drops opposition to Ceta
  4. Difficulties remain on Ceta deal, says Walloon leader
  5. Brexit could lead to 'some civil unrest' in Northern Ireland
  6. ECB holds rates and continues quantitive easing programme
  7. Support for Danish People's Party drops, poll
  8. Spain's highest court overturns Catalan ban on bullfighting

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EFADraft Bill for a 2nd Scottish Independence Referendum
  2. UNICEFCalls on European Council to Address Plight of Refugee and Migrant Children
  3. ECTAJoin us on 9-10 November in Brussels and Discover the new EU Digital Landscape
  4. Access NowCan you Hear me now? Verizon’s Opportunity to Stand for Global Users
  5. Belgrade Security ForumMeaningful Dialogue Missing Not Only in the Balkans, but Throughout Europe
  6. EASPDJoin the Trip! 20 Years on the Road. Conference & Photo Exhibition on 19-21 October
  7. EuropecheEU Fishing Sector Celebrates Sustainably Sourced Seafood in EU Parliament
  8. World VisionWomen and Girls Urge EU Leadership to Help end Gender-based Violence
  9. Dialogue PlatformIs Jihadism Blind Spot of Western Intellectuals ? Wednesday 26 October
  10. Belgrade Security ForumGet the Latest News and Updates on the Belgrade Security Forum @BelSecForum
  11. Crowdsourcing Week EuropeMaster Crowdsourcing, Crowdfunding and Innovation! Conference 21 November - 10% Discount Code CSWEU16
  12. EJCEU Parliament's Roadmap for Relations with Iran a Massive Missed Opportunity