Linas Linkevičius: we need to respond to the actions of Russia that weaken European security
On 4 April, at NATO Foreign Ministers meeting in Washington, Minister Linas Linkevičius called for response to the actions of Russia in the Black Sea region and in the area of arms control that are weakening European security.
“Military aggression in the East Ukraine, annexation and militarisation of Crimea, occupation of part of Georgia territory, violation of navigation freedom in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov are fragments of the Russian strategy to disintegrate the architecture of European security. We must pay more attention to security in the Black Sea region and support the countries suffering from Russian aggression,” Linas Linkevičius said.
The meeting also focused on the violation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. Last year NATO declared that Russia developed and deployed the rocket system 9M729 and thus violated the INF Treaty. The USA and other allies have been calling on Russia to take necessary actions to save the Treaty for six years, however, to date, Moscow has failed to provide any credible answers to concerns expressed by NATO states.
“The Treaty violation is a strategic challenge and NATO shall employ all necessary measures to ensure collective defence and deterrence credibility. Currently Russia is not cooperating. Dialogue alone is clearly not an option as Russia continues its aggressive politics that goes beyond Ukraine and Georgia to Syria, Venezuela and the Balkans. International law violations must have clear consequences and come to a price,” Linas Linkevičius noted.
During the meeting the ministers adopted a package of measures intended for ensuring security in the Black Sea region. It involves additional allied actions and strengthening of appropriate capacities as well as measures for stronger support for Georgia and Ukraine.
The annual NATO ministerial meeting was held on 3-4 April in Washington where the North Atlantic Treaty was signed 70 year ago.
On 2 April, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Linas Linkevičius took part in a meeting of NATO Foreign Ministers by secure videoconference for the first time in the Alliance’s history. The meeting discussed the Alliance’s response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, situation in Iraq and Afghanistan, NATO’s role in the Middle East and North Africa region. NATO Ministers also exchanged their views on Russia, arms control, and relations with partners.
Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Canada, Estonia, Finland, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Romania, Sweden, Ukraine, United Kingdom and the United States of America do not recognize the legitimacy of the so-called “presidential elections” held in Georgia’s Abkhazia region on March 22, 2020.
This statement is delivered on behalf of Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Romania, Sweden, Ukraine, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs welcomes the return of Ukrainian citizens who were illegally captured and detained by Russia. Among the released prisoners is Oleh Sencov, winner of the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought 2018, Edem Bekirov, a Crimean Tatar activist and other political prisoners, as well as 24 sailors captured during the aggressive actions of Russia in the Strait of Kerch in 2018. We share the joy of the families of those released and wish them a prompt recovery.