Lithuanian foreign minister hopes EU’s new Russia sanctions to take effect soon

Linas Linkevičius

He also said he understands that enforcing the sanctions may take a few days.

“We are doing everything possible to preserve the fragile ceasefire, as this allows stopping bloodshed, however, this does not solve all problems. As a matter of fact, it is very important, as it is important to keep people from dying, however, it takes long-term measures to stabilize the situation, and this will require an agreement of all conflicting parties. I mean that Russia should finally acknowledge being part of this conflict, as it has been denying this until now,” the minister told BNS on Tuesday.

The new sanctions will take effect as soon as they are published in an official EU publication, which may take a few days.

Linkevičius said that the important part was not the ceasefire agreement but translating the ceasefire into reality.

“I do not think sow but I can imagine and understand those who think that we will put an end to the fragile ceasefire, if we impose the sanctions now. […] I understand the move [postponement] but we speak in support of the sanctions and have a justification for that, they have been agreed upon and I hope that they will be imposed in the nearest future,” said the Lithuanian diplomacy chief.

In his words, clear signs of the de-escalation of the conflict in Ukraine would be needed to suspend the sanctions. Linkevičius said release of more than 1,000 hostages was a positive step of the ceasefire.

“There should be clear-cut signs of de-escalation, stabilization of the situation, there should be clear withdrawal of troops and suppressing of the unsanctioned unlawful paramilitary groups. It’s hard to imagine that this could take place. However, there should be clear signs of de-escalation, which have not been observed so far,” he added.

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