EU focus is on de-escalating crisis in Ukraine

The European Union says it is focusing on de-escalating the crisis in Ukraine and on assisting Ukraine in ensuring a stable, prosperous and democratic future for all its citizens. 

The EU though says it has been unwavering in its support for the country's territorial integrity and sovereignty.

It sees the full implementation of the Minsk agreements as the basis for a sustainable political solution to the conflict in the country's east. Since spring 2014, the EU has been stepping up its support to economic and political reforms in Ukraine.

In March 2014, the European Council agreed the first diplomatic measures in response to Russian actions in Ukraine. EU leaders also set out a second stage of further measures in the absence of de-escalatory steps and additional far-reaching consequences for EU-Russia relations in case of further destabilisation of the situation in Ukraine.

The European Union has strongly condemned Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea and does not recognise it. In the absence of de-escalatory steps by the Russian Federation, on 17 March 2014 the EU imposed the first travel bans and asset freezes against persons involved in actions against Ukraine's territorial integrity. 

In view of Russia's actions destabilising the situation in eastern Ukraine, the EU imposed economic sanctions in July 2014 and reinforced them in September 2014. In March 2015, the European Council linked the duration of those economic restrictions to the complete implementation of the Minsk agreements.

The EU remains ready to reverse its decisions and reengage with Russia when it starts contributing actively and without ambiguities to finding a solution to the Ukrainian crisis.

Diplomatic measures so far include:

  • Instead of the G8 summit in Sochi, a G7 meeting was held in Brussels on 4-5 June 2014. EU Member States supported the suspension of negotiations over Russia's joining the OECD and the International Energy Agency.
  • The EU-Russia summit was cancelled and EU Member States decided not to hold regular bilateral summits. Bilateral talks with Russia on visa matters as well as on the New Agreement between the EU and Russia were suspended.

Asset freezes and visa bans apply to 155 persons while 44 entities are subject to a freeze of their assets in the EU. 

This includes persons and entities responsible for action against Ukraine's territorial integrity, persons providing support to or benefitting Russian decision-makers and 13 entities in Crimea and Sevastopol that were confiscated or that have benefitted from a transfer of ownership contrary to Ukrainian law.

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Martin Banks

Martin Banks

Martin Banks is a highly qualified journalist with many years experience of working within the EU institutions. He is an occasional, and highly valued, contributor to EU today, writing on a wide variety of issues.

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