Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda says he has received assurances from Germany's leaders that sanctions against Russia will remain in place until Moscow stops its aggressive behavior in Ukraine.
Speaking to reporters after returning to Vilnius from a two-day visit in Berlin, Nausėda said that while Germany was careful not to increase tension with Russia, it was closely watching the situation in eastern Ukraine.
Read more: President Nausėda and Chancellor Merkel exchange promises of support on security and sharing refugees
“Germany's attention to Russia's actions in Ukraine has certainly not decreased,” the Lithuanian president told reporters at Vilnius Airport on Thursday afternoon. “The situation is monitored; there are efforts to look at it in a sober and rational way and not to escalate the tension.”
“But that does not mean Germany no longer supports the sanction policy,” Nausėda said.
Lifting sanctions is contingents on the implementation of the Minks agreements in Ukraine and Russia's steps to deescalate, he stressed.
“If a breakthrough is achieved there, then we can talk about lifting sanctions, but certainly not lifting sanctions unilaterally without Russia having done its part,” he said.
Nausėda also said he had heard reassurances from German Chancellor Angela Merkel that the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline will not harm Ukraine's interests in gas transit.
The president said he had told the chancellor that Lithuania remained critical of the project, which will carry Russian gas to Germany along the bottom of the Baltic Sea, bypassing Ukraine, the Baltic countries and Poland.
“When the chancellor mentioned Nord Stream 2, I said, ‘Madam Chancellor, nothing has changed in Lithuania's position.’ She smiled and said, ‘I wasn't really hoping (it would)’,” the Lithuanian president said.
Nausėda met with Merkel and German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier during his two-day visit to Berlin.
The EU introduced the sanctions against Russia in 2014 after Moscow annexed Crimea and started supporting separatists in eastern Ukraine.