On 15 January 2019, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Edgars Rinkēvičs, together with his counterparts from Estonia, Lithuania, Poland, and Ukraine visited the city of Dnipro in Ukraine. The originally intended visit to Mariupol was cancelled due to weather conditions unfavourable for a flight.
Edgars Rinkēvičs and the Foreign Ministers of EU Member States pledged their firm support for Ukraine over Russia’s aggression in the east of Ukraine and called for an immediate release of the Ukrainian seamen and navy vessels unlawfully detained. “Russia’s aggression in the Kerch Strait and the blockade in the Sea of Azov is an unacceptable violation of international law. Russia must release, immediately and unconditionally, the arrested Ukrainian sailors and the seized ships, as well as respecting international commitments and allowing freedom of navigation in the Sea of Azov,” the Latvian Foreign Minister underlined.
At the same time, Edgars Rinkēvičs noted that Latvia, together with the Allies, would continue actively supporting Ukraine in international organisations and offering other practical assistance. “Ukraine can rely on support from the Baltic States, Poland and other likeminded countries. Latvia and the Allies will actively side with Ukraine in international organisations. As before, Latvia will also give the opportunity for young Ukrainians to study free of charge at Latvia’s universities, as well as providing humanitarian, medical and psychological assistance to Ukrainian civilians and military personnel,” the Minister confirmed.
As part of their stay, the Foreign Ministers visited the Mechnikov Clinical Hospital in Dnipro, where medical treatment is provided to Ukrainian soldiers injured in the conflict, and were given a tour of the Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) Museum. From Dnipro, in the video-conferencing format, the Foreign Ministers communicated with the senior management of the Port of Mariupol, who informed them about the negative consequences for the port following Russia’s destructive actions in the Sea of Azov.
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