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Lithuanian Ambassador to Ukraine: 'Russia directly responsible for violence in Ukraine's east'

Lithuanian Ambassador to Ukraine: 'Russia directly responsible for violence in Ukraine's east'Lithuania's Ambassador to Ukraine Marius Janukonis has said that at present there is no reason to discuss lifting sanctions against Russia, and, if fighting escalates in Donbas, the sanctions need to be toughened.

Speaking at the meeting of the Ukraine-NATO Interparliamentary Council in Kyiv on Tuesday, the ambassador said that the situation in Donbas remains tense and Russia does not observe the Minsk agreements, in particular their clause on ceasefire.

"We can hardly call this the violation of the ceasefire, as there has not been any ceasefire there for months," Janukonis said. "We must not be tempted to feel weary of the Ukrainian issue. The country is in a state of war. One should not be afraid to openly state this fact," he added.

At the same time, Janukonis said that the Minsk agreements remain the only key to resolving the conflict.

According to the Lithuanian diplomat, one must be consistent in the implementation of the Minsk agreements, but be realistic at the same time. "We must understand that there can be no election on the de facto occupied territory of Ukraine's east until the security situation improves and the occupants are willing to accept the internationally recognized standards of elections," Janukonis said.

Read also: Donbas' Russia-backed militants shelled Ukrainian forces 40 times over past day

"Therefore, we must continue to exert pressure on Russia, which is directly responsible for the violence in Ukraine's east. There can be no question of possible lifting of the sanctions under the circumstances. Moreover, if the situation gets worse, we will need to think about their strengthening, because this is a crucial time for Europe and the entire civilized world, which should to protect the "civilizational" choice of Ukraine. "
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