Europe must stand united against Russia 'challenge': Lithuania

4th April 2014, Comments 0 comments

Europe must stand united as Russia challenges the continent's resolve over the Ukrainian crisis unfolding on its eastern borders, Lithuania's top diplomat told AFP on Friday.

"Russia is challenging our unity, our way to handle the crisis," Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius said in an interview on the sidelines of a meeting with his European Union counterparts.

Linkevicius, whose Baltic nation was absorbed for half a century into the Soviet Union, remained hopeful that Russia would de-escalate the crisis, but said "we do not see any signals" that it will do so yet.

He said Europe needs to stand firm in its support for Ukraine and refuse to recognise the annexation of Crimea.

Asked whether the EU should think twice about clinching economic and security deals with Georgia and Moldova that could infuriate Russia, Linkevicius said "No I think vice versa".

"If we do not do what we are supposed to do then that would increase tensions," he said.

"Concessions are not perceived as a good gesture. Unfortunately this would be perceived as a weakness."

© 2014 AFP

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