EU: Russia bears responsibility for so-called ‘republics’ and is party to conflict in eastern Ukraine

EU: Russia bears responsibility for so-called ‘republics’ and is party to conflict in eastern Ukraine

EU: Russia bears responsibility for so-called ‘republics’ and is party to conflict in eastern Ukraine

17.06.2021 10:34In the communication of the High Representative of the EU and the European Commission on further relations with Russia, the European side explicitly calls the Kremlin a party to the conflict in Donbas and expresses concern over Moscow’s attempts to present itself as a mediator.

“The EU has remained unwavering in its support of the Normandy format, the Trilateral Contact Group and the OSCE, including the efforts of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission. While President Zelenskyy’s election provided a renewed impetus in the negotiations, the December 2019 Normandy Summit conclusions remain to be fully implemented. More worryingly, the Russian government increasingly tries to present itself as a mediator and not as a party to the conflict and demands direct contact between Kyiv and the so-called “republics”, which runs contrary to the Minsk Protocol,” reads the Joint Communication to the European Parliament, the European Council and the Council of the EU on EU-Russia relations.

The document underscores that Russia scaled up in April 2021 its military presence at the eastern border of Ukraine and on the Crimean peninsula. The OSCE SMM’s access to eastern Ukraine remains routinely obstructed by the so-called “republics”, and ceasefire violations are at pre-July 2020 ceasefire level. As noted, this trend will likely persist, with Russia lacking a constructive approach.

The EU’s sanctions against Russia imposed in response to the attempted annexation of Crimea and destabilization in eastern Ukraine are linked to Russia’s full implementation of the Minsk agreements and should encourage the Russian authorities to seek a peaceful solution and deter further escalation and aggressive behavior, the communication says.

“The continued unanimous rollover of sanctions demonstrates EU unity and credibility. The EU measures have increased Russia’s cost of further aggression and constrained the further use of military capabilities and expansion in Ukraine. Russia will be held responsible for any deterioration in the so-called “republics”. It also remains crucial to maintain the existing coordination and unity, including on sanctions, with like-minded partners such as the G7,” the document says.

It is noted that the EU pursues a consistent policy of non-recognition of Russian international passports issued to residents of the occupied Ukrainian territories to get Schengen visas.

As noted, the EU is one of the largest humanitarian donors to the crisis in eastern Ukraine.

“Since its beginning, the EU has provided over EUR 190 million in emergency assistance, including EUR 25.4 million in 2021, and over EUR 1 billion, with the Member States, in humanitarian and early recovery aid. The EU is also providing, through the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, humanitarian assistance to Ukrainian refugees in Russia,” reads the communication.

(C)UKRINFORM 2021

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