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2021.02.10 09:38

New round of sanctions on Russia, Belarus in the works – Lithuanian FM

BNS2021.02.10 09:38

Lithuania is drafting new sanction packages for Russia and Belarus, Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis and Asta Skaisgirytė, an adviser to the country's President Gitanas Nausėda, have confirmed.

“Speaking of Russia and Belarus, the sanction issue is on the agenda. For Russia, sanctions related to Navalny's arrest and what Lithuania and other like-minded countries could propose to the European Union, especially following High Representative Borrell's visit to Moscow,” Skaisgirytė told reporters on Tuesday.

Sanctions for Russia and Belarus were discussed during a meeting of the Lithuanian president and the foreign minister on Tuesday.

Following the meeting, Landsbergis said that the EU was also discussing a fourth package of sanctions, adding that the Baltic states could introduce their own measures sooner.

“The fourth sanction package [for Belarus] is a European sanction package. There are no clear criteria yet on how it will be drafted,” Landsbergis said.

“We with the Baltic counterparts are speaking about agreeing on a list of sanctions for people who would not be able come to the Baltic states. At this preliminary stage, I could not provide information,” he added.

In Russia's case, Landsbergis says, “we are talking mostly about the so-called Navalny list, people who are linked to or have contributed to Navalny's detention, imprisonment, trial”.

“Lithuania is taking part in this process, we are taking part in discussions with counterparts from the Baltic states and Poland as well, and we hope that the list will be presented to EU institutions soon and considered at the top political level,” according to Landsbergis.

Asked whether he expected EU countries to back sanctions on Russia, especially after EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell's recent visit to Moscow, Landsbergis said it was a tough lesson. “Once we learn from this lesson, we need to see what can be done further to avoid such unfortunate situations,” he added.

Borrell faced criticism over his visit to Moscow after it sent several EU diplomats out and amid ongoing protests in the country.

“We see that even Mr. Borrell acknowledges that it was a tough lesson for him personally and probably for entire Europe, and once we learn from this lesson, we need to see what can be done further to avoid such unfortunate situations. I believe joint approval of the Navalny list of heavy sanctions would be a good step and a good response,” Landsbergis said.