Official speeches and statements - October 31, 2018
I would like to make the following statement today on behalf of the five EU Members of the Security Council (France, Netherlands, Poland, Sweden and the UK), and Italy, Belgium and Germany, as former and future EU Members of the Security Council, which demonstrates the continuity of the EU’s position on Ukraine.
We as Member States of the European Union fully support the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine within the internationally recognised borders.
We condemn the illegitimate "elections" planned for 11 November in the non-government controlled territories of the so-called "Luhansk People’s Republic" and "Donetsk People’s Republic". If held, these illegitimate "elections" would contravene commitments made under the Minsk agreements and violate Ukrainian law. Any such illegal elections would be incompatible with the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.
We call on the international community to stand united in opposing these illegitimate "elections" that can only serve to undermine efforts to achieve peace in the region. We urge the separatists to abandon the plans for Â“elections" and call on Russia to bring its considerable influence to bear to stop the so-called "elections" from taking place.
We welcome the renewal of the special status law in the Ukrainian Rada. We urge all sides, particularly the Russian-backed separatists, to commit to full implementation of the Minsk Agreements, beginning with a comprehensive ceasefire and withdrawal of heavy weaponry. We fully support the efforts within the Normandy format for implementing the Minsk Agreements.
We remain convinced that a peaceful resolution of the conflict is possible. Only progress on the diplomatic front will bring us to a point where legitimate and credible elections can be held in eastern Ukraine in line with the Minsk agreements.
Russia must play its part by ending its financial and military support to the separatists and withdrawing its armed forces and military equipment from Ukrainian territory.
We also express our concern regarding the degraded humanitarian situation in the conflict area, particularly as the winter season approaches. We also urge all parties to the conflict to re-establish full access of all international humanitarian organisations to the non-government controlled areas and to allow smooth and speedy delivery of humanitarian assistance in line with humanitarian principles and International Humanitarian Law./.
As mediators of the Normandie format, France and Germany have a particular role and responsibility with respect to the crisis in Ukraine.
In that capacity, my German colleague and I would like to make some brief comments in complement to the Security Council session we just attended.
This public session of the Council was an opportunity to raise our concerns about the latest developments in Ukraine, with respect to the so-called Â“elections" in the separatist territories, with respect also to the consequences of the illegal annexation of Crimea on the Asov Sea, and finally of course with respect to the humanitarian situation.
This meeting was also an opportunity to reiterate our joint commitment to the negotiations in the Normandy format based on the Minsk Agreements.
Germany and France are firmly committed to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. We once again urge the separatists and Russia to stop the preparations for the so-called Â“elections". The only elections that should take place are the local elections foreseen in the Minsk Agreements.
In addition to the statement that we made as E8 before the meeting, I would add to what my French colleague just said: that Germany wants to insist and emphasize that the so-called Â“elections" would contravene the Minsk Agreements. It is important to remember that - already in 2014 -, so-called "elections", illegal elections, were conducted in the Donbass. They were carried out with Russia’s backing and against the express will of the international community. We have to make sure that this does not become a pattern, history must not repeat itself.
I would like to recall the Minsk meetings and would urge Russia that, instead of preparing illegal elections together with the people of the so-called Â“Republic of Donetsk and Luhansk", it should concentrate on the implementation of the commitments that were made during the last ministerial meeting of the Normandy group in June in Berlin. In particular, this refers to the de-escalation of the conflict: to adhere to the ceasefire, the withdrawal of heavy weapons from the conflict zone, and to the protection of civilian infrastructure. Of course, these commitments should also be observed by Ukraine.
Germany and France will continue to drive the Normandy 4 process forward to achieve result on the ground. The people in Donbass deserve no less. Thank you./.