In a plea for solidarity, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, the leader of the Belarusian opposition and the head of the United Transitional Cabinet, has called for support for Belarusian civil activists forced into exile due to repression by Alexander Lukashenko's regime. This call to arms was made during a meeting held at the Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), involving directors from foreign ministries of like-minded partner countries focusing on Russian and Eastern European affairs, as reported by the LETA news agency.
Strengthening the Belarusian National Culture
During the meeting, Tsikhanouskaya expressed gratitude for the support of the democratic movement in Belarus and highlighted the need to fortify the Belarusian national culture and language against Russification. She also brought attention to the hybrid threats posed by Russia and Belarus to the European Union's external borders, particularly the use of migration as an instrument of influence.
Russian Internal Politics and Aggression
The representatives present at the meeting shared a pessimistic outlook on Russian internal political development, citing the country's shift towards a wartime economy. There was a unanimous agreement on the need to maintain sanctions against Russia, while also making efforts to enlighten the Russian diaspora abroad, and as far as possible, the people in Russia, by showcasing democratic alternatives to the so-called 'Russian world'.
Strategies against Russian Aggression
The discussions also centered around Russian aggression towards Ukraine and reducing its consequences, as well as the situation in Russia, Belarus, the South Caucasus, and Central Asia. Plans for more coordinated efforts to sustain long-term support for Ukraine and to ramp up pressure on Russia were also on the table. Representatives from countries including the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, the United Kingdom, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Finland, and Sweden were in attendance.
Support for Ukraine's Path to Victory
Uldis Mikuts, Director of the First Bilateral Relations Department, underscored the significance of comprehensive and long-term military and non-military support for Ukraine's path to victory and its integration into the EU for regional stability and economic growth in Europe. The progress of Moldova and Georgia towards EU integration and the evolving relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan in the context of South Caucasus stability also came under the lens. The strengthening of EU relations with Central Asia, with the advent of new high-level dialogue formats in recent years, was noted.