Rinkevics compares Baltic and Crimean occupations

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Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics said Tuesday that events in Ukraine were a "litmus test" of relations between the European Union and the Russian Federation, suggesting that the current worsening situation on the ground could lead to harsher sanctions.

Speaking at a conference in Alpbach, Austria, Rinkevics said the European Union "stands ready to review the agreed sanctions against the Russian Federation" according to a news release by the Foreign Ministry.  

Genuine progress on fulfilment of the Minsk agreements is of vital importance, said Rinkevics who also reaffirmed that by its illegal annexation of the Crimean Peninsula – a territory belonging to Ukraine – Russia has violated basic principles of international law, severely undermining trust in Russia’s activities in the international arena.

Therefore, EU-Russia relations cannot simply return to business as usual, he said.

Referring to the issue of non-recognition of the annexation of Crimea, the Latvian Foreign Minister underscored the long-term character of international sanctions.

"The policy of non-recognition of the annexation of the Baltic States was pursued for 50 years, and we regained our independence. We are following a similar approach with the question of the occupation of Crimea," the Foreign Minister said.

Latvia "would advocate further strengthening the EU’s role in resolving the conflict in Ukraine," the statement said, without specifying exactly how that might be achieved.

The Alpbach Forum was established in 1945 as a high-level talking shop.


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