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EU High Representative Federica Mogherini visited Kyiv yesterday to deliver a strong message of support and solidarity with Ukraine and its citizens. With the four-year anniversary of the annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation approaching, the timing provided an ideal opportunity to deliver a message of the EU's continued commitment to Ukraine's territorial integrity and sovereignty.
The High Representative had high-level meetings with President Petro Poroshenko, Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman, Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin and the Minister for Temporarily Occupied Territories, Vadym Chernysh. The 2014 annexation of Crimea and the ongoing conflict in the East of Ukraine, led by Russian backed separatists, was high on the agenda. The High Representative was clear on the EU's continued concern about the humanitarian situation on the ground and plight of Ukrainian civilians caught up in the fighting in the non-government controlled areas in Donbas, in the East of Ukraine.
3.4 million citizens are in need of humanitarian assistance and over 10.000 people have been killed in the fighting since the conflict began in 2014. The EU announced an additional €24 million in humanitarian assistance at the end of February, to assist those most in need, taking the total amount of assistance to almost €700 million since the conflict began. The High Representative also met with the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM), which monitors the implementation of the Minsk agreements, a 12 point plan derived to deescalate the situation in the East. The EU is the largest contributor to the SMM, providing most of its monitors and €33 million in funding to date.
Mogherini discussed Ukraine's ongoing reform agenda, linked to the EU's Association Agreement with Ukraine, which sets out a road map of key reforms that need to be executed across a variety of sectors. The High Representaive noted the impressive progress that had been made to date, in difficult circumstances, but also stressed the need for further work, in particular when it comes to fight against corruption and independent judiciary.
Mogherini also met with university students and delivered a speech at the Taras Schevchenko University and took questions. The High Representative used the speech to launch the EU Delegation's new nationwide communication campaign, Moving Forward Together, that will better explain the EU to Ukrainian citizens. As the High Representative said, "it is not just a friendship of words, it's also a friendship in concrete terms".