Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis – Francois Lenoir/EU Council/dpa
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Moscow announces that there will be “response measures” and accuses Vilnius of wanting to “destroy bilateral relations”
MADRID, 4 (EUROPE PRESS)
The Lithuanian authorities have decided to reduce the diplomatic representation of Russia in the country with the expulsion of the ambassador, Alexei Isakov, and with the closure of the consulate in the city of Klaipeda.
Similarly, the Lithuanian Foreign Minister, Gabrielius Landsbergis, has announced that the Lithuanian ambassador in Moscow, Eitvydas Bayarunas, will also leave his post soon, according to the Lithuanian portal Delfi.
“In response to the continued Russian aggression against sovereign Ukraine and the atrocities perpetrated by the Russian armed forces in several occupied Ukrainian cities, including the appalling massacre in Bucha and other Ukrainian cities, the Lithuanian Government has decided to reduce the level of diplomatic representation.” Landsbergis explained.
Thus, Minister Landsbergis has indicated that the partners of the European Union and the Atlantic Alliance have been informed of these steps and have been asked to “do the same”. Regarding the closure of the consulate in Klaipeda, he has argued that it was playing an “unconstructive” role.
Later, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zajarova called Lithuania’s decision an “extremely hostile” action aimed at “destroying bilateral relations” between the two nations.
“The responsibility for this lies entirely with the Lithuanian side. Response measures will be announced shortly,” Zajarova said in a statement released by the Russian Foreign Ministry.
In recent days, several European countries have announced the expulsion of dozens of Russian diplomats such as Belgium, the Netherlands, Ireland, Bulgaria or the Czech Republic, among others.
On the other hand, Minister Landsbergis has acknowledged that the Lithuanian government is considering the possibility of closing the border with Russia and Belarus in response to the war in Ukraine, according to the newspaper ‘Respublika’.
“The discussions are underway. I cannot give an exact date. When the decisions are made, we will announce them,” Landsbergis explained to the media, although he stressed that it is still “too early” to talk about the matter.
Lithuania and Belarus share more than 650 kilometers of border, while with Russia it shares some 270 kilometers with the former Kaliningrad oblast.