On 28 February, the Minister of Foreign Affairs Edgars Rinkēvičs made a working visit to Ukraine. In Kyiv, Latvian Foreign Minister met with the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada (Supreme Council), acting President Oleksandr Turchinov, Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Foreign Minister Andriy Deshcytsia, and a member of the Verkhovna Rada, former Foreign Minister Boris Tarasyuk.
In a conversation with Ukrainian officials, Foreign Minister expressed concern over the developments in the Crimean Peninsula and accentuated Latvia's strong support for preserving the territorial integrity of Ukraine. "It must be ensured that the international agreement signed in Budapest guaranteeing Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity is strictly adhered to. The signatory states to the agreement include the U.S., Great Britain, ansd also Russia. Any attempts at promoting separatism must be condemned in the strongest terms possible," said the Foreign Minister of Latvia. The Minister commended the approach by the Ukrainian authorities to dealing with the situation in the Crimea and called on them to also avoid provocations in the future. The Ukrainian side urged to apply the EU's planned sanctions against former Ukrainian officials including persons who have embezzled large funds and used those for personal purposes. Foreign Minister Rinkēvičs expressed Latvia's support for such type of measures.
As the parties discussed the course of Ukraine's integration with the European Union, Minister Rinkēvičs expressed support for the signing, as soon as possible, of an association agreement between the EU and Ukraine as well as preparing and entering into a visa facilitation agreement. The Minister pledged Latvia's involvement in addressing issues vital for the development of Ukraine within the framework of the EU, the UN, the OSCE, the International Monetary Fund and other organisations, in particular, while preparing a package of economic and financial assistance.
The highest-ranking Ukrainian officials expressed sincere gratitude for Latvia's support - both for Ukraine's advancement along the course of eurointegration, and for providing medical treatment in Latvia to Ukrainians injured in the clashes. "Latvia was among the first to provide us with the much-needed assistance. We highly appreciate that," Ukrainian officials emphasised.
Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs also visited the Independence Square in Kyiv and laid flowers at the barricades, paying tribute to those who lost their lives there.