Linkevičius: Ukraine shows great resolve to stay on the European path, despite Russia’s aggression
On 19 March in Brussels, prior to the Foreign Affairs Council meeting, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Linas Linkevičius invited EU foreign ministers to an informal breakfast together with the Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin.
EU member states expressed their continued support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Foreign ministers discussed the ongoing reforms in Ukraine, which had significantly improved the country’s business and political environment, as well as the current challenges in the face of Russian aggression. EU foreign ministers also called on Klimkin to maintain the pace of reforms and to focus on the fight against corruption.
“We recognize Ukraine’s achievements and appreciate its clear choice of the European path, but sustainable changes must be backed by further reforms,” said Linkevičius, who summed up the foreign ministers’ discussion.
The meeting was also attended by the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini and the EU Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn. The meeting with the Foreign Minister of Ukraine was symbolically organized on the eve of the fourth anniversary of the illegal annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation and the election in Russian-annexed Crimea.
Foreign ministers continued their debate on Ukraine also at the Foreign Affairs Council meeting. “Essential support for Ukraine includes also the need to maintain and strengthen sanctions against Russia,” Lithuania's Foreign Minister said, reminding his counterparts that Ukraine was implementing reforms in a very complicated context of Russia’s ongoing aggression. “It is important that everyone - both at the EU institutional and national levels - should actively help Ukraine to use the aid in an efficient and transparent way,” Linkevičius said.