EU Council: EU won’t recognise illegal referenda in the Eastern Ukraine

EU Council of foreign ministers met in Brussels on 12 May to discuss the situation in Ukraine.

Stage-in-Europa

The ministers made it clear that the EU “stands firm in upholding Ukraine’s unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity” and called upon Russia “to do likewise”. The EU condemned “efforts by pro-Russian separatists to destabilise Eastern and Southern Ukraine”; the Council also made it clear that the Union would not “recognise yesterday’s nor any future illegitimate and illegal “referenda”. Similarly, the EU reiterated its “strong condemnation of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation” and said it “will not recognise it.“ The Council expressed its “utmost concern” about the deteriorating situation of the human rights situation in Crimea, including with regard to Crimean Tatar community. Holding of free and fair Ukrainian Presidential elections on 25 May found strong support among the ministers. They expressed their “full commitment” to the Geneva Joint Statement of 17 April and called on Russia to “take effective steps with regard to fulfilling the commitments taken in Geneva”. Likewise, the EU reiterated its demand to Russia to “call back its troops from the Ukrainian border and to immediately withdraw the mandate of the Federation Council to use force on Ukrainian soil”. Given lack of progress in this field, the Council also agreed to “expand the criteria allowing individuals and entities to be subject to visa ban and asset freeze.” It has decided to add a new group of individuals and entities to the list of persons, entities and bodies subject to restrictive measures.

The Ministers also reiterated the EU’s commitment to “sign the remaining provisions of the Association Agreement with Ukraine, including the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area, as soon as possible after the presidential elections on 25 May”. The ministers welcomed the signing by the European Commission of the Memorandum of Understanding on the new EUR 1 billion Macro-Financial Assistance (MFA) loan programme to Ukraine, and looks forward to the release of the first tranche of the two MFA loan programmes worth EUR 600 million.

Read the full text of the EU Council conclusions here