Danish foreign minister calls for continued sanctions in Ukraine

As the fighting worsens, Anders Samuelson says the EU and US should maintain pressure on Russia

Anders Samuelsen, the foreign minister, has called upon the European Union and the United States to maintain sanctions against Russia following a personal visit to the front in eastern Ukraine, where fighting and casualties have increased of late.

“There is a broad agreement in Denmark that we should stick to sanctions,” Samuelsen said.

“It’s quite important for a small country like Denmark that we have international rules and that larger countries stick to these rules.”

Samuelson said that large countries should not be able to push smaller countries around like “schoolyard bullies”.

Economic sanctions were imposed on Russia after the country invaded and annexed Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula in 2014, and then they were increased  over what the West sees as Russia’s continued aggression in the region.

Increased fighting
Fighting in eastern Ukraine has increased in recent days. The Ukrainian government said that Russia is responsible, while Russia has said that Ukraine is behind the increase in hostilities.

“It was provoked by the Ukrainian side,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a news conference last week standing alongside Hungarian PM Viktor Orbán during a visit to Budapest.

According to Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze, the Ukrainian deputy PM, the Russians are the aggressors, and she thanked Samuelsen for visiting the front.

“We are extremely grateful because it takes courage and willingness to check it out with your own eyes,” Klympush-Tsintsadze said.

READ MORE: Denmark maintaining focus on Ukraine’s challenges

Ukraine was a major topic at the meeting of the EU foreign ministers in Brussels on Monday. Led by Denmark, 14 EU countries have drawn up a proposal urging the EU to continue to support Ukraine.