'Ukraine grateful to EU for restrictive measures against Russia'

President Zelensky calls for tighter sanctions against Russia for violating Ukraine's sovereignty

Talha Yavuz   | 12.10.2021
'Ukraine grateful to EU for restrictive measures against Russia'

KYIV, Ukraine

Ukraine is grateful to the EU for the continued restrictive measures against Russia, but it is high time for tighter sanctions, said the Ukrainian president on Tuesday following the 23rd EU-Ukraine Summit in the capital Kyiv.

Speaking at a joint press conference along with European Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Volodymyr Zelensky said: “One of the important issues at the meeting was coordination with the EU for a peaceful resolution of the Donbas crisis. We agree that Russia is fully responsible and a party to the crisis.”

Zelensky added that he also discussed the Donbas crisis with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday.

“We are grateful to the EU for the continued restrictive measures against Russia, but the time has come for stricter sanctions,” he added.

Fighting between the Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russian separatists in Donbas has seen more than 13,000 people killed since 2014, according to the UN.

The region is one of several sources of friction between Russia and Ukraine, including Moscow’s 2014 annexation of Crimea, which Turkey, the EU, the US, and the UN General Assembly view as illegal.

Zelensky said human rights violations in Crimea cannot be ignored, and the EU's decision to impose sanctions on eight people over the violation of Ukraine’s territory is an important step in this respect.

He said the EU and Ukraine agreed to redouble their efforts to free 450 people detained by Russia.

“We established the Crimea Platform and started the liberation process of Crimea. We are grateful to the EU for their participation in the platform,” he added.

“Nord Stream 2 poses new problems in this area. We must define a common vision with Europe in the field of energy security. We agreed to start a high-level dialogue with the EU in the field of energy.”

EU, Ukraine condemn Russian invasion of Crimea

Following the summit, the parties condemned "the clear violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity by acts of aggression by the Russian armed forces since February 2014."

"We do not recognize and continue to condemn the illegal annexation of Ukraine's Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the City of Sevastopol by Russia," the declaration said.

The EU and Ukraine also condemned the ongoing oppression of the Crimean Tatars and called for the immediate release of the illegally detained persons in Russia and the Crimean Peninsula.

Common aviation area agreement

Touching upon the common aviation area agreement signed between the EU and Ukraine, Zelensky said: "After eight years of the bureaucratic process, we finally signed a common aviation area agreement today," adding that there will be more flights with high standards.

Zelensky said they have started negotiations for updating the comprehensive industrial visa-free agreement.

The Ukrainian president added the EU and Ukraine have also started a discussion on the Agreement on Conformity Assessment and Acceptance of Industrial Products (ACAA), which is planned to be signed at the next summit.

He underlined that the war against corruption in Ukraine, which recently implemented judicial reforms, has won the EU approval.

Thanking the EU Commission for the second macro-financial aid package of €600 million ($692 million), Zelensky said it is important for the macroeconomic stability of Ukraine.

Zelensky pointed out that in addition to the aviation agreement, they have also signed agreements on Horizon Europe and Creative Europe.

Horizon Europe is the EU's key funding program for research and innovation with a budget of €95.5 billion and Creative Europe is the union's program for support to the culture and media sectors.

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