Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Madagascar and the Union of the Comoros

Ukraine: Statement by the Spokesperson on access to non-government controlled areas

Brussels, 25/03/2020 - 11:50, UNIQUE ID: 200325_7
Statements by the Spokesperson

Since 21 March, members of the armed formations at checkpoints in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine have denied the patrols of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) passage into and from non-government-controlled areas. In addition, UN agencies, non-governmental organisations and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) are facing difficulties in accessing the non-government-controlled areas. It is crucial that Russia and the armed formations that it backs allow the OSCE SMM, UN agencies, non-governmental organisations and the ICRC freedom of movement across the contact line.

In line with its mandate, the SMM must have safe, secure and unhindered access throughout Ukraine, including parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions temporarily outside government control. Its unhindered access into and from non-government-controlled areas is essential for providing reliable information on the developments on the ground, as envisaged in the Minsk agreements, and enabling the implementation of its mandate throughout the country. The SMM has adapted its monitoring activities in response to the global COVID-19 outbreak, to ensure the continued safety of all.

In the current circumstances, it is even more essential that humanitarian aid to people in these areas continues to be delivered. UN agencies, non-governmental organisations and the International Committee of the Red Cross must have unimpeded access to those in need in the whole Donbas region.

A number of important developments have recently taken place in the Trilateral Contact Group, such as discussions on the exchange of detainees and defining new disengagement areas. Russia must not endanger this constructive spirit by creating new restrictions.

The EU remains steadfast in its support to Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity, the implementation of the Minsk agreements, and the work of the Normandy format and Trilateral Contact Group to achieve a sustainable and peaceful political solution to the conflict.