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Russia calls Lithuanian foreign minister's Ukraine warning "pressure"

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„Scanpix“ nuotr. / Russia
Šaltinis: BNS
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Russia's Embassy in Vilnius has called recent statements by Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Linas Linkevičius about Russia's treatment of Ukraine "pressure" and called for a respectful dialogue on equal terms.

"We see the Lithuanian foreign minister's comments as an attempt, on the one hand, to put pressure on Ukraine and, on the other hand, as a wish to negatively influence bilateral Russian-Ukrainian relations, a wish to undermine the ongoing integration processes in the Eurasian space," the Russian Embassy in Vilnius said in a statement.

The statement came in response to Linkevičius' words on Wednesday when he told Interfax-Ukraine news agency that Russia's further pressure on Ukraine over its European integration would affect Moscow-Brussels ties.

"This will affect the dialogue between the EU and Russia. Our relations are important both in economic and in the political area, but our partnership rests not only on pragmatic interests but on certain values. And one of the most important of them is the freedom of choice. We respect the [European] choice of Ukraine, and hope that no artificial barriers will be set up. Arguments should be used, not force. This is unacceptable and will be judged respectively," he said in an interview with Interfax-Ukraine.

The Russian Embassy also said in the statement that Russia respects Ukraine's choice and stressed that Russia should not be warned about anything.

"Just as Lithuania, Russia respects the Ukrainian nations' choice on any matter, including that on integration," the statement reads.

"Russia needs no warnings on anything. A dialogue with Russia should be respectful and on equal terms, which is the foundation of constructive and mutually beneficial cooperation," the embassy said.

Earlier this week in Visby, Sweden, foreign ministers from the Nordic-Baltic Eight (NB8) countries slammed Russia's pressure on Ukraine and Moldova to renounce their plans to sign association and free trade agreements with the European Union.

Russian officials have warned Ukraine recently about potential import restrictions, if Ukraine signs the association agreement with the EU and does not join the Russian-led Customs Union instead. Moscow has also promised cheaper gas to Ukraine, if the latter chooses the Customs Union over closer ties with the EU.

Russian officials have also warned Moldova that its closer ties with the EU would hamper the resolution of the Transnistrian problem and also mentioned potential wine imports restrictions.

Lithuania is holding the rotating EU presidency in the second half of this year.

BNS
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