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Joint Statement by Foreign Ministers of Lithuania and Ukraine

The foreign ministers of the Republic of Lithuania and Ukraine held talks in Lviv. They condemned the brutal war that the Russian Federation, with the direct involvement of the Republic of Belarus, has launched against a sovereign, peaceful and independent Ukraine.

By this horrendous act, Russia has flagrantly violated the fundamental principles of international law, the UN Charter, the Helsinki Final Act, and many other documents guiding relations between countries.

Lithuania and Ukraine demand that Russia immediately stop its unprovoked and unjustified aggression and to unconditionally withdraw all its occupational military forces from the entire territory of sovereign Ukraine within its internationally recognised borders.

Russia’s unprovoked military invasion of Ukraine brought suffering and destruction that have not been seen in Europe for decades.

The ministers condemn the indiscriminate attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure facilities that are under the protection of international humanitarian law. In the face of this tragedy, the whole world is struck by the brutality of Russia’s regime in this senseless war.

Russia, by refusing to ensure safe and unhindered humanitarian access to those most in need in Ukraine, and not allowing safe passage for those civilians who want to leave, is committing war crimes and crimes against humanity. The wrongdoings by Putin and his accomplices must end in The Hague. In this respect, the ministers expressed their strong support for the investigation process opened by the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.

The ministers paid tribute to the bravery of the people of Ukraine and its military in defending their Homeland from the invader, as well as for defending our shared European values, freedom, and democracy.

The ministers call upon the international community to step up providing Ukraine with coordinated military, humanitarian, financial, and political support. They also urge  further increased pressure on Russia and Belarus regimes by significantly widening restrictive measures, including the ban of fossil fuels imports, and further sanctions against individuals, entities, bodies responsible for the atrocities and supporting or benefiting from Putin’s regime, as well as those responsible for, involved in or associated with serious human rights violations in Ukraine.

The ministers stressed the need to further isolate Russia and its economy, in order to undermine the Kremlin’s capacities to attack its neighbours.

The ministers emphasised that Ukraine must be able to restore its economy after the end of the war as soon as possible. Russia must be brought to justice and fully compensate for all losses incurred during its invasion into Ukraine.

The actions of the Russian Federation at nuclear energy sites constitute a blatant violation of many conventions on nuclear safety, including the International Convention on the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism. The damage from reckless actions by Russia will be irreparable.

In this regard, the ministers urge the international community to find a way to force Russia to:

  • Withdraw troops from peaceful nuclear facilities
  • Introduce at least a 30-kilometer demilitarised zone around the NPPs
  • Ensure normal work of the staff, give them the opportunity to have a rest

No less important is the financial liquidity of the electricity market of Ukraine. Reduction of electricity production and consumers’ inability to repay their utility bills create additional challenges. In this respect, it is important to consider the creation of a coordinated financial mechanism of electricity market support. Pan-European solidarity is needed in preparation for the next winter.

The ministers also called on NATO to enhance coordination of military and humanitarian support provided by Allies and partners for practical assistance requests made by Ukraine. They also specifically stressed the need to provide the Ukrainian military with air defence units to help defend Ukraine

The ministers discussed additional options and instruments towards immediate de-escalation with the view to ensure the complete withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine. They agreed in this regard to engage capabilities of international organisations, regional alliances, and bilateral instruments at the maximum extent in order to bring this war to an end. They also agreed to stand jointly in the dialogue on the platforms of the EU, UN and OSCE.

Finally, the ministers cited the application of Ukraine to become a member of the European Union, submitted by the President of Ukraine on 28 February 2022. Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine has brought this country and Europe into a special, unprecedented turning point in history. Ukraine is fighting for its security and that of Europe, and we must not forget this when assessing Ukraine’s prospects for EU membership. The extraordinary situation requires extraordinary measures and solutions. Ukraine belongs to the European Union family.

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Natalia Tolub

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