Linas Linkevičius in the Luhansk Oblast: people on the frontline need more than sympathy, they need tangible assistance
Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Linas Linkevičius, visited the Luhansk Oblast in Ukraine on 22 and 23 June where he had meetings with the Head of the Oblast State Administration (regional military and civil administration), Yurii Harbuz, with a business community, Ukrainian military and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that provide support to war-affected people.
During the Minister’s visit, the first bilateral business forum was held in the administrative centre of the Luhansk Oblast, in Severodonetsk, which brought together delegates from the Vilnius Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Crafts and the Lithuania-Ukraine Business Council. Linas Linkevičius urged Ukrainian business people to show more active interest in possibilities in the European Union market, open to Ukrainian business now, and to look for Lithuanian partners who have experience and can speed up Ukrainian efforts in turning from the East to the West.
Mr Minister also visited Nizhne, Stanytsia Luhanska and Katerynivka, settlements close to the contact line. “Lithuania is going to continue its assistance to the regions of Eastern Ukraine by implementing humanitarian, educational, social, and other projects,” Minister Linkevičius said when he talked to local inhabitants, who continuously suffer from Russia-supported separatists’ shootings, and to Ukrainian soldiers.
Mr Minister also said that each time he was visiting the frontline he was more convinced that nothing could break the spirit of Ukrainian people.
Minister Linkevičius was accompanied by representatives of NGOs “Blue Yellow” and “New Donbas”, by Lithuanian reporters, and by theatre and circus artist Arkadijus Vinokuras, who had initiated a development cooperation project of the Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Donbas children “Smile against War”. He showed short performances in local schools in Nizhne and Stanytsia Luhanska during the visit.