This statement is issued on behalf of the EU and its Member States.
The Candidate Countries the Republic of North Macedonia, Montenegro, and Albania, the EFTA countries Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, members of the European Economic Area, as well as the Republic of Moldova, Ukraine and Georgia, align themselves with this statement.
The Russian Federation held an informal Arria-formula meeting at the UN today to promote again a false narrative about Ukraine and the events that took place in 2014. We regret this deliberate attempt to divert the attention of the international community from Russia’s destabilization efforts since 2014.
The Russian Federation has responded to Ukrainian people’s legitimate aspirations with unacceptable acts of armed aggression, which keep undermining Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity to this day. The EU does not and will not recognize the illegal annexation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, and will keep enforcing a strong non-recognition policy of this violation of international law.
After seven years of Russia instigated conflict, the security situation in eastern Ukraine continues to take a heavy toll on the Ukrainian civilian population living in Donetsk and Luhansk on both sides of the contact line. More than 13 000 people have been killed in the armed conflict in Donbas, more than 30 000 have been injured and 3.4 million people continue to require humanitarian assistance. Over 1,5 million Ukrainians are also internally displaced.
Few signs of progress are to be witnessed, despite the efforts of the Normandy format, the OSCE, notably the Trilateral Contact Group, and its Special Monitoring Mission. The recent unusual military build-up by Russia in Crimea and at along the borders of Ukraine in April, without due notification and accompanied by aggressive rhetoric from the Russian leadership, is not in line with Russia’s international commitments, arising in particular from the Vienna Document, raises tensions and undermines security. The EU recalls that the lives of EU citizens were also taken as a consequence of this conflict, with the downing of flight MH17. The EU recalls UNSC resolution 2166, which stipulates that those responsible for the downing of MH17 must be held accountable and brought to justice.
The Russian decrees enabling the simplified issuing of passports for Ukrainian citizens run counter to the spirit and objectives of the Minsk agreements and are another attack on Ukraine's sovereignty by Russia. The continued closure of 4 out of 5 existing but also new crossing points at the line of contact contributes to deepening the divide between Ukrainians in the government and non-government controlled areas. We expect all parties to refrain from actions that are against the Minsk agreements. Russia should not impede the full reintegration of the non-Government controlled areas into Ukraine.
The EU remains unwavering in its support to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders. We again call on the Russian Federation to immediately stop fuelling the conflict by providing financial and military support to the armed formations it backs.
We call on the sides to engage constructively in the Normandy format and the Trilateral Contact Group in order to ensure the full implementation of the Minsk agreements and to resolve the conflict peacefully.