Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis has called on European leaders to take a "people first" approach towards Russia and suspend the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project until State Duma elections in autumn.
"Let us give Vladimir Putin the opportunity to hold a free election to the State Duma this autumn with the participation of the opposition. Until then, let us stop the Nord Stream 2 pipeline," the minister said in a statement after Monday's meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council.
According to the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry. EU ministers "agreed that despite the unconstructive and hostile behaviour of Russian officials towards the EU, it was necessary to strengthen the EU and its partners' support for civil society, independent media, youth and the democratic opposition in Russia”.
EU foreign ministers also discussed the situation in Belarus, Myanmar and Hong Kong.
Landsbergis expressed his deep concern over a new wave of repressions against free media and human rights activists in Belarus and called for a fourth package of sanctions against the Minsk regime and urged the European Commission to work on the economic support plan for a democratic Belarus.
The minister noted that Belarus was using the European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group's expert mission to the Astravyets nuclear power plant for propaganda purposes in an effort to legitimise the facility that does not meet international nuclear safety standards.