The international community needs to up diplomatic pressure on the Russian Federation in order to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic in the occupied territories of Ukraine, since the Russian Federation, as an occupying state, bears legal responsibility for everything happening in the areas it has seized, says Andrius Kubillius, Member of the European Parliament, former Prime Minister of Lithuania.

"According to international law, Russia, as an occupying state, is responsible for the spread of a pandemic in the occupied territories of Ukraine. Earlier, we, as members of European Parliament, addressed the EU leadership with a broad appeal about the impossibility of lifting the sanctions imposed over the aggression against Ukraine, while the issue of the COVID-19 spread in the occupied territories was also included in the appeal. We voiced two requests – about the need for political pressure on Russia by the European Union, so that the Kremlin convinces its mercenaries to cease fire in Donbas and allows Ukraine and international organizations to take care of suppressing the pandemic on the front line, and also that Russia allows international organizations to stop the pandemic on the occupied territories," the MEP told Ghall.

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"It is necessary to intensify diplomatic pressure on the Russian Federation, international observers with the WHO should have objective statistics on the pandemic spread in the occupied territories. If the Kremlin lacks resources to stop the pandemic in Moscow in Russia itself, if they can't manage to stop the pandemic in the occupied territories, it is necessary to put pressure on them to allow international organizations to do so. We will continue to raise this issue at the level of the European Parliament. On April 20, there will be a meeting of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the European Parliament, Mr. Borrel [President of the European Parliament Josep Borrel] will be there, and we will raise this issue," Kubilius said.

"According to international law, the occupying state is responsible for stopping the pandemic in the occupied territories. If they fail to do so, they violate international law and there is every opportunity to raise this issue at the international level," Andrius Kubilius summed up.

As UNIAN reported earlier, deputies with the Ukrainian parliament's ruling faction Servant of the People have also blamed Russia for healthcare disaster in Donbas and Crimea. Deputies believe Russian inaction in the matter of stopping the pandemic could be the subject of proceedings in international instances.