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Lithuania's Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis: Let us stop the Nord Stream 2 until a free election to the State Duma is held

Created: 2021.02.22 / Updated: 2021.02.22 19:32

On 22 February, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Gabrielius Landsbergis participated in the Foreign Affairs Council, which focused on the EU-Russia relations, the human rights and democracy situation in Belarus, Myanmar, Hong Kong, and the EU initiative to strengthen a common European security and defence culture.

EU ministers of foreign affairs agreed that despite the unconstructive and hostile behaviour of Russian officials towards the EU, it was necessary to strengthen the the EU and its partners' support for civil society, independent media, youth and the democratic opposition in Russia. In response to the ongoing criminal proceedings against Alexei Navalny, the Foreign Minister Landsbergis suggested reacting quickly and unanimously, imposing targeted sanctions against officials responsible for systematic human rights abuses.
Landsbergis called on the EU to maintain a values-based policy toward Russia, first of all, to think about the people of Russia and then to deal with the regime accordingly. According to the Foreign Minister, Russia has undermined democracy, human rights, and the sovereignty of neighbouring countries long ago. Therefore, the EU should give up the illusion that Russia’s behaviour might change and soberly assess its actions, as well as lessons learned.

“Let us give Vladimir Putin the opportunity to hold a free election to the State Duma this autumn with the participation of the opposition. Until then, let us stop the Nord Stream 2 pipeline,” said Lithuania's Foreign Minister.
As regards the situation of democracy and human rights in Belarus, Myanmar and Hong Kong, the Foreign Minister stressed that the EU must defend these values against all regimes around the world that suppressed democratic aspirations of their citizens. As the situation deteriorates, the EU must respond quickly and decisively.

“We see that the media and human rights defenders are facing a new wave of repression in Belarus. If we really want to help them, let us not put aside the fourth set of sanctions, but let us seek an international investigation into the crimes committed by Belarusian authorities. Those responsible for committing the crimes must be brought to justice and held accountable. Let us also prepare a plan of economic support for a democratic Belarus as soon as possible, providing prospects for the people," said the Foreign Minister.

The Foreign Minister pointed out that Belarus was using the Ensreg experts' mission to the Ostrovets nuclear power plant for propaganda purposes and sought to legitimise the nuclear power plant that did not meet international nuclear safety standards.

The United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken also joined the meeting by video conference for an exchange of views on the priorities of transatlantic cooperation. Landsbergis highlighted the importance of the U.S. as a strategic partner and guarantor of European security and called for an intensified cooperation and coordination between the EU and the U.S. regarding Russia and China, while actively supporting the Euro-Atlantic aspirations of eastern partners.

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