According to the Minister, Russia has long abandoned democracy, respect for human rights and the sovereignty of neighboring countries, the EU should abandon the illusion that Russia’s behavior can change and realistically assess Russia’s actions and lessons learned.
“Let us give Vladimir Putin a chance to hold free Duma elections this autumn with the participation of the opposition, and in the meantime stop the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline,” said the Lithuanian Foreign Minister. EU-Russia relations, the human rights and democracy situation in Belarus, Myanmar and Hong Kong, and EU security and defense initiatives.
The Council considered that, despite the unconstructive and hostile behavior of Russian officials towards the EU, it was necessary to strengthen the support of the EU and its partners to Russian civil society, the independent media, young people and the democratic opposition. In response to the ongoing trials of Alexei Navaln, Minister Landsberg proposed to react swiftly and unanimously by imposing personal sanctions on officials responsible for systemic human rights violations.
Speaking about the situation of democracy and human rights in Belarus, Myanmar and Hong Kong, the Minister emphasized that the EU must defend these values in the world against regimes that suppress the democratic aspirations of its citizens, and that the EU must react quickly and decisively as the situation deteriorates.
“We are seeing a new wave of repression in Belarus against the media and human rights defenders. If we really want to help them, let us not delay the fourth package of sanctions, let us seek an international investigation into the crimes committed by the Belarusian state – the perpetrators must be held accountable for their crimes. “As soon as we present an economic support plan for a democratic Belarus, it will give a perspective to the people,” the minister said.
The Minister noted that Belarus is using the mission of ENSREG experts to the Astrava nuclear power plant for propaganda purposes, seeking to legitimize a nuclear power plant that does not meet international nuclear safety standards.
Priorities of transatlantic cooperation were discussed at a remote meeting of EU foreign ministers with US Secretary of State A. Blinken. Mr Landsbergis emphasized the importance of the United States as a strategic partner and guarantor of European security, and called for greater cooperation and coordination between the EU and the United States on Russia and China, with active support for the Euro-Atlantic aspirations of the Eastern Partners.
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