The Baltic States are concerned about the considerable build-up of the Russian armed forces in close proximity to the Russia-Ukraine border and in the Crimean Peninsula, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the three Baltic States underlined today, during their joint working visit to Kyiv. The Latvian, Estonian and Lithuanian ministers agreed that such actions by Russia are significantly increasing threat to security in the region and could potentially trigger a further escalation of the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
The visit by the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the three Baltic States to Kyiv on 15 April 2021 has been organised to reaffirm solidarity with Ukraine and express support for its sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders.
During their stay in Kyiv, the Baltic States’ Foreign Ministers met with their Ukrainian colleague, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dmytro Kuleba. The Baltic officials are also to have meetings with the Prime Minister of Ukraine, Denys Shmyhal; the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, Dmytro Razumkov; the Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration, Olha Stefanishyna; and the Minister of Defence, Andrii Taran.
During the meeting with Ukrainian officials, the Latvian Foreign Minister, Edgars Rinkēvičs, together with his Estonian and Lithuanian counterparts voiced the opinion that Russia’s aggressive rhetoric, and propaganda and disinformation activities are unacceptable and alarming. In discussions with its European colleagues and NATO allies, Latvia will further highlight the need for sending strong messages to Russia to give a warning about serious consequences in the case of possible military aggression against Ukraine.
Edgars Rinkēvičs noted that the restrained response on the part of Ukraine to Russia’s provocations until now, and decisive action in providing information about Russia’s destructive activities in the region confirm to international community that it is Russia which is responsible for the escalation. We believe that Russia’s activities should be further followed to ensure a firm response on the part of Ukraine’s partners. The Latvian Foreign Minister reiterated support for the NATO Membership Action Plan for Ukraine.
During the meetings with Ukrainian officials, Edgars Rinkēvičs also expressed support for the policy of non-recognition pursued by the European Union concerning the illegal annexation of Crimea. The Minister recalled that Latvia was one of the first countries to voice support for the Crimean Platform initiative launched by Ukraine, which is a vital instrument in the context of non-recognition of the annexation of Crimea.
In relation to Ukraine’s European integration aspirations, the Latvia Foreign Minister welcomed the strong commitment of Ukraine to continuing on the course of implementation of reforms and demonstrating noteworthy progress in a number of areas. At the same time a systematic approach to the implementation of reforms should be ensured, especially concerning a reform in the justice sector and corruption prevention, Edgars Rinkēvičs noted.
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