EU foreign ministers call for an end to the destabilisation of Ukraine and are ready to expand sanctions


During meeting in Luxembourg, European Union foreign ministers called for an end to the destabilisation of Ukraine and decided to expand the list of restricted measures.

Foreign minister Urmas Paet said at the meeting of European Union foreign ministers in Luxembourg today, that the actions of separatists in eastern Ukraine in recent days are unacceptable. "We recently saw similar activity in Crimea, which has now been occupied and annexed by Russia," he added.

"The European Union condemns the activity of separatists in eastern Ukraine," Paet said. "Activities destabilising Ukraine must come to an end immediately and all parties must start a serious dialogue to find a peaceful solution to the situation," he added. According to Paet, using external military power in Ukraine is not acceptable and has to end immediately. In addition, the EU is demanding the Russian parliament withdraw the mandate allowing Russian armed forces to be used in Ukraine.

According to Paet, the EU foreign ministers decided to expand the list of restrictive measures regarding those subject to a visa ban and assets freeze.

EU member states jointly condemned Russia's aggression in Crimea. "Member states decided to draw up a common and concrete policy of non-recognition in relation to the annexation of Crimea," foreign minister Paet said.

When speaking about the four-way talks between the EU, the U.S., Ukraine and Russia that are to take place this week, Paet noted that immediately at the start of talks it has to be stated that none of the solutions will come at the expense of Ukraine. "Ukraine has to decide its own future," he added.

Foreign minister Paet considers launching the work of an OSCE observation mission in Ukraine to be of great importance. "Estonia's readiness to take part in the special mission is great – Estonia has presented a total of 22 candidates," he added. “At present two Estonian observers are taking part in the mission, but if the OSCE is to increase the mission in the future, it’s possible that more will join,” the foreign minister added.

According to the foreign minister, Estonia also supports preparing a European Union civil mission, the aim of which would be to reform the security sector and support the rule of law in Ukraine.

According to the minister, the Council reiterated its commitment to sign the remaining provisions of the Association Agreement, including the free trade agreement as soon as possible following the presidential elections on May 25. The Council also adopted the Regulation on the reduction or elimination of customs duties on goods originating in Ukraine. “This is a meaningful support measure for Ukraine until the signing of the free trade agreement (DCFTA),” Paet said.

The Council reiterated its commitment to provide strong financial support for Ukraine in order to guarantee the stability of the country’s economic and financial situation. The council adopted a decision establishing clear conditions for macro-financial assistance for Ukraine today. This will bring the total amount to financial assistance granted to Ukraine to 1.6 billion euros.

The Council also supports Ukraine in the field of energy security, by helping to find solutions to lessen its energy dependence on Russia, including the further diversification of its energy supply.

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