Ukraine: Real danger of a new division of Europe – MFA of Germany.


EP calls for EU sanctions against Russian energy firms

putin

© photocredit

Quadripartite talks-Lavrov : Crisis settlement must be Ukraine’s own job

Rusya, ABD, AB ve Ukrayna Cenevre’de bir bildiri kabul etti

Putin Says Compromise on Ukraine Should Be Within Country, Not Between Russia, US

Putin Hopes No Need to Use Russia’s Military Forces in Ukraine

Putin: Rusya, Kırım Tatarlarının itibarının iadesi için her şey yapacak

Putin: Rusya hiçbir zaman Kırım’ı ilhak etmeyi planlamadı

***

Letter from President Barroso to President Putin

Mr President,

Referring to your letter of 10th April to several Member States of the European Union and third countries, I have been mandated by the Council of the European Union, following consultations with the 28 Member States, to reply to this letter on behalf of the European Union and of all 28 Member States.

The European Union agrees on your proposal for consultations with the Russian Federation and Ukraine with regard to security of gas supply and transit. We believe that this approach allows for the most useful process with the Russian Federation and other third parties, as these matters concern Member States’ matters as well as the operation of the European Union’s single market and touch upon a shared competence of the European Union.

As you point out, the European Union and the Russian Federation are Ukraine ‘s main trading partners. Let me reiterate that the need to ensure the long-term political and economic stability of Ukraine is therefore a key interest of the European Union and of the Russian Federation as you stated in your letter. Therefore it is our common interest to quickly engage in talks which will include Ukraine.

However, we do not share your assessment of trade relations between Ukraine and the European Union that, to a large extent, the crisis in Ukraine ‘s economy has been precipitated by the unbalanced trade with the European Union Member States. In this regard an IMF-led programme of assistance will be vital in stabilising Ukraine’s economy. The success of an IMF-led programme will depend both on Ukraine’s commitment to international obligations and reform efforts and on cooperation from all their international partners. The European Union, together with its international partners under the framework of the planned IMF assistance package, is already providing significant support to Ukraine and its people through substantial macro- financial assistance, generous trade preferences and a variety of other aid measures agreed with the Ukrainian authorities.

As regards energy, relations must be based on reciprocity, transparency, fairness, non-discrimination, openness to competition and continued cooperation to ensure a level playing field for the safe and secure supply and transit of energy. In this context, we recognise that in the case of natural gas supply and transit the need for a structured and comprehensive dialogue is particularly urgent. In our view, issues relating to Ukraine ‘s gas debts and import prices should be considered alongside their external financing needs with the IMF and all other relevant international partners. Cooperation between the European Union and the Russian Federation in the energy field is based on common interests. Accordingly, I see two key elements to the current issue at hand:

First, the contractual reliability of the Russian Federation as a supplier of gas is at stake in this matter.

In your letter, you refer to the outstanding gas debt of “Naftogaz Ukrajiny” as a contractual cause for Gazprom to shift to a pre-payment regime, which could – in the absence of payment – eventually lead Gazprom to partially or completely cease the supply of gas into Ukraine. Such a development is cause of a serious concern as it carries the danger of an interruption of service into the European Union and other partner countries and affecting the storage of gas in Ukraine for supplies in the coming winter. As far as the gas supplies to Europe are concerned, I would like to recall that supply contracts are between European companies and Gazprom. It therefore continues to be Gazprom’s responsibility to ensure the deliveries of the required volumes as agreed in the supply contracts. The European Union has repeatedly stated that we expect commercial operators on all sides to continue respecting their contractual obligations and commitments. Remaining a reliable supplier would appear to be clearly in the interest of the Russian Federation, in the light of international gas market developments.

As supplies to the European Union and supplies to Ukraine are closely related, we are willing to discuss with all parties concerned how these contractual obligations are to be met on the basis of market prices, rules and international law, as it is the case in the European Union, and how to ensure that transit through Ukraine, storage of gas in Ukraine and supply to Ukraine are done in a transparent and reliable manner.

Second, with a view to the supply of natural gas into Ukraine, the long-term solution toward a functioning European gas market can only be the satisfactory rearrangement of transit relations through Ukraine, and a market reform of the energy system of Ukraine both on the basis of a legally and economically sound and transparent regime. In the context of the current crisis, we consider that solutions to both the Russian claims regarding short term arrears and the long-term mechanisms, including on the gas price and conditions of gas supplies, are to be solved in dedicated negotiations and through available legal mechanisms. We reiterate that changes to contractual arrangements due to political circumstances run counter to the spirit of support and cooperation enshrined in your letter.

Still with regard to the reference in your letter to the last resort possibility to completely or partially cease gas deliveries in the event of further alleged violation of the conditions of payments by Ukraine, we would strongly urge you to refrain from such measures, which would create doubts about your willingness to be seen as a reliable supplier of gas to Europe. But let me also refer to the Early Warning Mechanism which was established between the European Union and the Russian Federation, following the gas crisis in 2009 and subsequently updated in 2011. It is important to recall that in case of an emergency situation, this Mechanism should be activated before taking any unilateral steps.

In addition to this mechanism we stand ready to host trilateral consultations with the Russian Federation and, subject to the agreement of the Ukrainian government, with Ukraine as we have proposed already in the past. The proposed consultations should help to avoid an extreme scenario and safeguard security of supply and transit while at the same time creating the necessary conditions for a structured cooperation including notably the modernisation of Ukraine’s gas transit system. In this respect, we are deeply concerned by the unilateral decision taken by the Russian Federation not to apply the 2010 Kharkov agreement. Such consultations should not exonerate economic operators from fulfilling their contractual responsibilities and thus should be conducted without prejudice of commercial negotiations.

The Commissioner for Energy, Mr Günter Oettinger, stands ready to address these issues with his Russian and Ukrainian counterparts immediately, in close contact with the Member States, and will therefore contact his counterparts to organise a first meeting.

I am convinced that, by discussing constructively common solutions and actions, we can find the solution to the current crisis.

Yours sincerely,
José Manuel BARROSO

*

EP calls for EU sanctions against Russian energy firms

17-04-2014 – The EU must step up sanctions targeting individual Russians and be ready to impose economic sanctions on Russia immediately, MEPs said in a vote on Thursday. They also called for EU measures against Russian firms and their subsidiaries, especially in the energy sector, and Russia’s EU assets, against a background of violence designed to destabilise the east and south of Ukraine.

Parliament is gravely concerned about the fast-deteriorating situation and bloodshed in the east and south of Ukraine. It urges Russia immediately to stop supporting violent separatists and armed militias, led by Russian special forces, as well as to remove its troops from the eastern border of Ukraine.

The Ukrainian authorities have every right to use all necessary measures, including the right to self-defence under the UN Charter, say MEPs, warning Russia against using the Ukraine’s legitimate right to defend its territorial integrity as a pretext to launch a full-scale military invasion.

Geneva talks

MEPs hope that the imminent four-party meeting of the EU, the US, Ukraine and Russia in Geneva could pave the way for a diplomatic solution to the crisis. They underline, however, that Ukraine’s future choices can be made only by the Ukrainian people themselves, through a democratic, inclusive and transparent process. Parliament welcomes, in principle, the idea of holding a nationwide referendum on future status and territorial set-up as suggested by Acting President Turchynov.

OSCE mission and Presidential elections

Parliament calls on the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Special Monitoring Mission gathering information on atypical paramilitary activity, provocative actions and human rights situation in Ukraine to be expanded.

MEPs stress that no attacks, intimidations or discriminations of Russian or ethnic Russian citizens or other minorities have been recently reported in Ukraine.

The text also calls for in-depth missions by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, the European Union and the European Parliament to observe Ukraine’s 25 May Presidential elections and rejects any external pressure to delay them.

Finally, Parliament welcomes the Ukrainian government’s intention to hold early parliamentary elections.

*

Des sanctions contre les entreprises russes du secteur de l’énergie

17-04-2014 – L’UE doit intensifier les sanctions ciblant certaines personnalités russes et se préparer à imposer des sanctions économiques contre la Russie, affirment les eurodéputés dans une résolution adoptée ce jeudi. Ils appellent également à des mesures contre les entreprises russes et leurs filiales, en particulier dans le secteur de l’énergie, et contre les avoirs russes, dans un contexte de violence visant à déstabiliser l’est et le sud de l’Ukraine.

Dans la résolution adoptée par 437 voix pour, 49 contre et 85 abstentions, le Parlement exprime ses plus vives préoccupations face à la détérioration rapide de la situation et aux bains de sang dans l’est et le sud de l’Ukraine. Les députés européens appellent la Russie à cesser de soutenir les séparatistes violents et armés, menés par les forces spéciales russes et à retirer ses troupes de la frontière orientale de l’Ukraine.

Les autorités ukrainiennes sont pleinement habilitées à recourir à toutes les mesures nécessaires, notamment au droit à l’autodéfense inscrit dans la charte des Nations unies, soulignent les députés. Ils recommandent à la Russie de ne pas se servir du droit légitime de l’Ukraine à défendre son intégrité territoriale pour lancer une invasion militaire à grande échelle.

Réunion diplomatique à Genève

Les députés souhaitent que la réunion quadripartite entre l’Union européenne, les États-Unis, l’Ukraine et la Russie, à Genève, permette d’envisager une solution diplomatique globale à la crise. L’avenir de l’Ukraine ne peut dépendre que des choix effectués par le peuple ukrainien dans le cadre d’un processus démocratique, ouvert et transparent, ajoutent les parlementaires. Le Parlement européen accueille favorablement l’idée d’organiser un référendum national sur le statut et l’organisation territoriale de l’Ukraine, comme l’a suggéré le président faisant fonction, Alexandre Turchinov.

Mission de l’OSCE et élections présidentielles

Les députés demandent l’extension de la mission spéciale de l’OSCE, chargée de recueillir des informations sur les activités militaires inhabituelles et de surveiller le respect des droits de l’homme.

La résolution souligne qu’aucune attaque, intimidation ou discrimination contre des ressortissants russes, des citoyens d’appartenance ethnique russe ou d’autres minorités n’a été signalée récemment en Ukraine.

Les députés veulent l’organisation d’une mission d’observation du Bureau des institutions démocratiques et des droits de l’homme de l’OSCE (BIDDH) ainsi que du Parlement et de l’Union européenne pour observer les élections européennes du 25 mai. Ils rejettent également toute pression extérieure visant à retarder la tenue de ces élections.

Le Parlement européen se félicite de l’intention du gouvernement ukrainien d’organiser des élections législatives anticipées. Source.

*** Full debate.

*

Eastern Partnership countries and in particular destabilisation of eastern Ukraine

European Parliament resolution of 17 April 2014 on Russian pressure on Eastern Partnership countries and in particular destabilisation of eastern Ukraine (2014/2699(RSP))

The European Parliament,

– having regard to its previous resolutions on the European Neighbourhood Policy, on the Eastern Partnership (EaP) and on Ukraine, with particular reference to those of 27 February 2014 on the situation in Ukraine and of 13 March 2014 on the invasion of Ukraine by Russia ,
– having regard to its position adopted at first reading on 3 April 2014 with a view to the adoption of Regulation (EU) No …/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the reduction or elimination of customs duties on goods originating in Ukraine ,
– having regard to the conclusions of the extraordinary meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council on Ukraine of 3 March 2014 and to the conclusions of the Foreign Affairs Council meetings of 17 March and 14 April 2014,
– having regard to the statement of the Heads of State or Government on Ukraine at the European Council of 6 March 2014,
– having regard to the European Council’s conclusions on Ukraine of 20 March 2014,
– having regard to the conclusions of the Vilnius Summit held on 28 and 29 November 2013,
– having regard to the resolution of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe of 9 April 2014 on ‘recent developments in Ukraine: threats to the functioning of democratic institutions’,
– having regard to the UN General Assembly resolution of 27 March 2014 entitled ‘Territorial integrity of Ukraine’ ,
– having regard to the joint statement made by the G7 leaders in The Hague on 24 March 2014,
– having regard to Rule 110(2) and (4) of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas an illegal and illegitimate referendum was organised on 16 March 2014 in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol and was conducted under the control of Russian troops; whereas, despite the international condemnation of the referendum, the Russian authorities and lawmakers proceeded swiftly with the annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula, against international law;

B. whereas limited numbers of pro-Russian demonstrations have taken place in eastern and southern Ukraine over the last few days; whereas pro-Russian separatists, led in most cases by Russian special forces, stormed local administration buildings in Kharkiv, Luhansk and Donetsk; whereas these elements, under the leadership of a group called ‘the Russian Sector’, occupied the local government building in Donetsk, proclaimed the creation of a sovereign ‘People’s Republic of Donetsk’ independent from Kyiv, and announced a referendum on the secession of the region, to be held no later than 11 May 2014;

C. whereas on 12 and 13 April 2014 police stations and government buildings in Slovyansk, Kramatorsk, Krasny Lyman, Mariupol, Yenakiyeve and other towns in the Donetsk region were attacked and seized by well-armed, unidentified masked gunmen, believed to be led by Russian special forces, in a series of coordinated raids; whereas at least one officer died and several were injured during the clashes;

D. whereas any further escalation of violent destabilisation in eastern and southern Ukraine risks being used by Russia as a false pretext for further aggression by military means, prevention of the presidential elections, and forced federalisation as a precursor to the partition of Ukraine;

E. whereas Russia is still maintaining large numbers of combat-ready troops along the Ukrainian-Russian border, despite having promised a withdrawal in order to ease the tensions; whereas there is a serious possibility that Russia could try to repeat the ‘Crimea scenario’;

F. whereas Russia continues to violate its international obligations, such as those stemming from the UN Charter, the Helsinki Final Act, the Statute of the Council of Europe and, in particular, the 1994 Budapest Memorandum on security guarantees for Ukraine;

G. whereas the EU has adopted an economic package in support of Ukraine that also includes macro-financial aid and autonomous trade measures; whereas Ukraine is about to finalise an agreement with the International Monetary Fund on an aid plan; whereas the conditions attached to this agreement have so far been kept confidential;

H. whereas the social and economic situation of the country is further deteriorating, owing inter alia to Russian destabilisation and trade restrictions; whereas widespread poverty remains one of the most acute socioeconomic problems in Ukraine; whereas according to a recent UN report the poverty rate in Ukraine is now around 25 %, with 11 million people earning less than local social standards;

I. whereas on 21 March 2014 the EU and Ukraine signed the political provisions of the Association Agreement (AA), undertaking to sign the remainder of the agreement, which includes the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA), as soon as possible;

J. whereas strong international diplomatic action at all levels and a negotiated process are needed to de-escalate the situation, ease tensions, prevent the crisis from spiralling out of control and secure a peaceful outcome; whereas the EU must respond effectively so as to allow Ukraine and all other eastern neighbouring countries to fully exercise their sovereignty and territorial integrity free from undue external pressure;

K. whereas, immediately after Crimea was annexed, the Supreme Soviet of the separatist region of Transnistria in Moldova sent an official request to the Russian Federation to consider annexing Transnistria;

L. whereas Russia is still occupying the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali / South Ossetia, in violation of the fundamental norms and principles of international law; whereas ethnic cleansing and forcible demographic changes have taken place in the areas under the effective control of the occupying force, which bears the responsibility for human rights violations in these areas;

M. whereas Russia increased gas prices for Ukraine from USD 268 to USD 486 per thousand cubic metres from 1 April 2014, unilaterally ending the discount Ukraine received as part of the Kharkiv Accords governing the lease of the Sevastopol naval base, and, in the last few days, has banned Ukrainian dairy products from entering Russian territory; whereas the Russian Federation has also arbitrarily applied unilateral trade restrictions on products from Georgia and Moldova;

N. whereas Russia’s annexation of the Crimean peninsula represents, beyond any doubt, a grave violation of international law which undermines trust in international instruments, including the agreements on disarmament and on non-proliferation of nuclear weapons; whereas a new arms race could lead to further escalation; whereas it is imperative to prevent such a dangerous situation, which could easily spiral out of control;

1. Condemns in the strongest possible terms the escalating destabilisation and provocations in eastern and southern Ukraine; rejects any preparation for illegal ‘Crimea-like’ referendums; warns that the increasing destabilisation and sabotage caused by pro-Russian armed, trained and well-coordinated separatists led by Russian special forces could be used as a false pretext for Russia to intervene militarily, prevent the presidential elections and force federalisation as a precursor to the partition of Ukraine;

2. Expresses its gravest concern over the fast-deteriorating situation and bloodshed in eastern and southern Ukraine; urges Russia to immediately withdraw its presence in support of violent separatists and armed militias who have seized government buildings in Slovyansk, Donetsk and other cities, to cease all provocative actions designed to foment unrest and further destabilise the situation, to remove troops from the eastern border of Ukraine, and to work towards a peaceful resolution of the crisis by political and diplomatic means; expresses its full support for and solidarity with the Government of Ukraine as it seeks to re-establish authority in the occupied cities, welcomes the restrained and measured manner in which the Ukrainian Government has dealt with the current phase of the crisis so far, and recalls that the Ukrainian authorities have the full right to use all necessary measures, including the right to self-defence as defined in Article 51 of the UN Charter; warns Russia against using Ukraine’s legitimate right to defend its territorial integrity as a pretext to launch a full-scale military invasion;

3. Strongly reiterates its support for the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of Ukraine and of all Eastern Partnership countries; looks upon Russia’s acts of aggression as a grave violation of international law and its own international obligations stemming from the UN Charter, the Helsinki Final Act, the Statute of the Council of Europe and the 1994 Budapest Memorandum on security guarantees, as well as bilateral obligations deriving from the 1997 Bilateral Treaty on Friendship, Cooperation and Partnership;

4. Stresses that no attacks, intimidation or discrimination whatsoever against Russian or ethnic Russian citizens or other minorities have been reported recently in Ukraine, as confirmed by credible international monitors such as the UN, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Council of Europe;

5. Is convinced that Russia’s assertion of the right to use all means to protect Russian minorities in third countries, as proclaimed by President Putin in his speech of 18 March 2014, is not supported by international law and contravenes fundamental principles of international conduct in the 21st century, while also threatening to undermine the post-war European order; calls on the Federation Council to immediately withdraw its mandate to use force on Ukrainian soil;

6. Reiterates the necessity for the EU and its Member States to speak to Russia with one united voice; considers that the current situation requires the Council to strengthen the second phase of sanctions and be ready for the third phase (economic sanctions), which must be applied immediately; reiterates, furthermore, its call on the Council to swiftly apply an arms and dual-use technology embargo;

7. Calls for measures against Russian companies and their subsidiaries, particularly in the energy sector, as well as Russian investments and assets in the EU, and for all agreements with Russia to be reviewed with a view to their possible suspension;

8. Urges the EU to support Ukraine in international bodies, particularly international judicial bodies, should Ukraine decide to bring cases against Russia for violation of its sovereignty and territorial integrity;

9. Stresses the urgent need for Russia to engage in a constructive dialogue with the current legitimate Government of Ukraine, and supports the active engagement of the EU in diplomatic efforts to de-escalate the crisis; looks forward to the quadripartite meeting between the EU High Representative, the US Secretary of State and the Foreign Ministers of Russia and Ukraine, and hopes that this can contribute to reducing tension and paving the way for a comprehensive and lasting diplomatic solution to the crisis; stresses, however, that Ukraine’s future choices can only be made by the Ukrainian people themselves through a democratic, inclusive and transparent process;

10. Points out that the suspension of the voting rights of the Russian delegation by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, together with the resolution adopted by the UN General Assembly condemning Russia for the annexation of Crimea, are unequivocal signs of the Russian Federation’s growing isolation at international level that should be given all due consideration by the Russian authorities if Russia wants to remain a credible international player;

11. Calls for the introduction of economic, trade and financial restrictions in respect of Crimea and its separatist leadership; takes the view that these restrictions should be implemented rapidly on the basis of the Commission’s analysis of the legal consequences of Crimea’s annexation;

12. Reiterates its concern over the fate of the Tatar community in Crimea and the safety and access to rights of persons belonging to the Ukrainian-speaking community; stresses the responsibility of the Russian Federation, under the Fourth Geneva Convention, to protect all civilians in the occupied territories;

13. Welcomes the deployment of an OSCE Special Monitoring Mission tasked with gathering information about atypical military activity and provocative actions aimed at destabilising the situation, as well as monitoring human and minority rights in Ukraine, and calls for its expansion; regrets, however, the fact that the mission has not secured access to Crimea, where various human rights violations, including cases of violence against journalists and their families, have taken place; regrets the fact that attacks on journalists are now also being reported in eastern Ukraine;

14. Calls, furthermore, for an in-depth election observation mission from the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODHIR), and also from Parliament and the EU, to monitor the elections comprehensively; calls for the presidential elections on 25 May 2014 to be conducted in full compliance with international standards; rejects any external pressure to delay these elections;

15. Welcomes the Ukrainian Government’s intention to hold early parliamentary elections;

16. Welcomes, in principle, the idea of holding a nationwide referendum on the future status and territorial set-up of Ukraine, as suggested by acting President Oleksandr Turchynov in his televised address of 14 April 2014;

17. Welcomes the recent resolution of the Ukrainian parliament calling for the immediate disarmament of all illegal self-defence forces, and looks forward to its implementation;

18. Welcomes the Council’s readiness to assist Ukraine in the field of civilian security-sector reform and provide support for the police and the rule of law, and to examine all options, including a possible CSDP mission, as well as the possibility of an EU monitoring mission;

19. Expresses its strong support for Ukraine and its people in these difficult times; welcomes the signing of the political chapters of the Association Agreement and the subsequent adoption of the unilateral trade measures; calls for the signing of the full AA/DCFTA as soon as possible and before the expiry of the unilateral trade measures;

20. Welcomes the announcement by the Ukrainian Government of an ambitious economic and social reform agenda, and highlights the vital importance of its swift implementation in order to stabilise and overcome the country’s critical financial situation; welcomes the decision of the international financial institutions and the EU to provide Ukraine with substantial short� and long-term financial aid; recalls the need to organise and coordinate an international donor conference, which should be convened by the Commission and take place as soon as possible;

21. Supports the conditionality laid down by the EU regarding much-needed structural reforms that will help create more favourable conditions for sustainable economic growth, improve the management of public finances, develop the social safety net and tackle corruption; calls for transparency in the spending of EU funds and effective monitoring by the Commission;

22. Draws attention to the serious economic and social situation in the country; calls for measures to accompany the structural reforms with the aim of alleviating the current situation with regard, in particular, to the most vulnerable sections of the population;

23. Encourages Ukraine to continue to move ahead with its course of political reform, in particular constitutional reform, which should be the subject of a broad, in-depth discussion among all components of Ukrainian society; welcomes the will of the Ukrainian Government to implement its commitments to ensure the representative nature of governmental structures, reflecting regional diversity, to ensure the full protection of the rights of persons belonging to national minorities, to align the country’s anti-discrimination legislation with EU standards, to investigate all human rights violations and acts of violence and to fight extremism;

24. Welcomes the Commission’s decision to create a Support Group for Ukraine which will work on the implementation of the ‘European Agenda for Reform’;

25. Supports the efforts of the Ukrainian Government, working in close cooperation with the OSCE and the Council of Europe, to ensure due respect for the legitimate rights of the Russian-speaking population and other cultural, national and linguistic minority groups, in line with the provisions of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages and the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities;

26. Reiterates its call for the setting-up of an independent commission to investigate the Kyiv shootings and the tragic events on Maidan, with the inclusion of a strong international component and under the supervision of the Council of Europe International Advisory Panel; welcomes the appointment of a third party to that panel and the holding of its first meeting on 9 April 2014;

27. Welcomes the signing of the political provisions of the AA and expects the quick implementation of the autonomous trade preferences adopted by the EU to bridge the gap until the signing of the remainder of the agreement, which includes the DCFTA;

28. Welcomes the initial measures adopted by the Commission to enable Ukraine to tackle an energy crisis should Russia cut gas supplies to the country, and urges the Council and the Commission to assist and support Kyiv in its efforts to resolve the long-standing gas dispute with Moscow; stresses the urgent need for a strong common energy security policy (an Energy Union), with the aim of reducing the EU’s dependency on Russian oil and gas, including the diversification of energy supply, the full implementation of the Third Energy Package and the possibility of suspending gas imports when necessary; takes the view that the South Stream pipeline should not be built, and that other sources of supply should be made available; is convinced that EU assistance to Ukraine in securing reverse-flow supply through further diversification, enhanced energy efficiency and effective interconnections with the EU will strengthen Ukraine against political and economic pressures; recalls, in this connection, the strategic role of the Energy Community, of which Ukraine holds the presidency in 2014;

29. Calls on the Council to authorise the Commission immediately to speed up visa liberalisation with Ukraine, so as to advance along the path of introducing a visa-free regime, following the example of Moldova; calls, in the meantime, for the immediate introduction of temporary, very simple, low-cost visa procedures at EU and Member State level;

30. Stresses that the Russian concerns as regards the EU association process of Ukraine and the other Eastern neighbours must be adequately addressed and explained, so as to ease fears of new geopolitical dividing lines on the European continent; points out that each country has every right to make its own political choices, but that the EU’s engagement with the Eastern partners aims to spread prosperity and increase political stability, from which the Russian Federation will also ultimately gain;

31. Reiterates that the AAs with Ukraine and the other EaP countries do not constitute the final goal in their relations with the EU; points out in this connection that, pursuant to Article 49 of the TEU, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine – like any other European state – have a European perspective and may apply to become members of the Union provided that they adhere to the principles of democracy, respect fundamental freedoms and human and minority rights and ensure the rule of law;

32. Calls on the Council to sign the AAs/DCFTAs between the EU and its Member States and Moldova and Georgia, respectively; expresses its approval of the proposal for a Council decision on the provisional application of the EU–Moldova and EU–Georgia AAs immediately upon signature; urges the General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union to reduce the notification procedures following the signing of the AAs, so that provisional application can take effect as soon as possible after signing; states its intention, in the event of all requirements being met and the AAs subsequently being signed, to proceed with full ratification of the EU–Moldova and EU–Georgia AAs as soon as possible and before the end of the Commission’s current term; calls for the allocation to those countries of the additional financial assistance required; calls, furthermore, for a frank and open dialogue with the Russian Federation in order to make every effort to develop synergies aimed at benefiting EaP countries;

33. Expresses particular concern over renewed instability in the separatist region of Transnistria in Moldova; believes that the recent request of 16 April 2014, by the self-proclaimed authorities in Tiraspol for Transnistria to be recognised by Russia as an independent state represents a dangerous and irresponsible step; recalls that the so-called referendum in the Autonomous Territorial Unit of Gagauzia was against the constitution of Moldova and therefore illegal; reiterates its full support for Moldova’s territorial integrity and calls on all parties to urgently resume dialogue, under the 5+2 framework, and calls for an enhancement of the EU’s status to that of negotiating partner, leading towards a peaceful and sustainable settlement of the issue;

34. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the governments of the Member States, the Presidents, Governments and Parliaments of Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova, the Council of Europe, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the President, Government and Parliament of the Russian Federation. Other languages!

*

Reactions of the Political Groups:

MEPs issue call to strengthen sanctions

Thu, 17/04/2014 – The European Parliament has called on the Council to strengthen the second phase of sanctions against Russia and be ready for the third phase (economic sanctions), which must be applied immediately. In a Resolution adopted by a large majority today, MEPs furthermore request the Council to swiftly apply an arms and dual-use technology embargo against Russia.

Elmar Brok MEP, Chairman of the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, and the EPP Group’s Coordinator in the Foreign Affairs Committee, José Ignacio Salafranca Sánchez-Neyra MEP, said:
“It is beyond doubt that Russia is continuing to stoke tensions in Eastern Ukraine by supporting and leading separatists and militias. It is necessary to make clear to Russia that the international community will not allow an outright breach of international law”, they said.

“Russia must withdraw its troops from the Ukrainian border, lift the decree allowing for a military invasion of Ukraine, and issue clear orders to separatists and militias in Ukraine to immediately withdraw and refrain from all violence.”

“Ukraine is a sovereign country and must be allowed to hold free and fair elections on 25 May, without outside interference. The OSCE and the EU have to send election observers to make sure international democratic rules are respected”, they added. EPP Groupe.

*

The opportunity for dialogue is an achievement

As tensions continue to rise between Ukraine and Russia, the EU, US, Ukraine and Russia will meet in Geneva today – the first talks of this kind.
Hannes Swoboda, president of the Socialists and Democrats Group in the European Parliament, said:
“The fact that all four powers – the EU, US, Ukraine and Russia – are meeting for direct talks is an achievement in itself. There have been many threats in the last weeks but none have helped resolve the crisis in Ukraine.
“Instead of verbal and military aggression, dialogue must now be the approach of choice.
“While respecting Ukraine’s independence and sovereignty, we must ensure Russia has no legitimate grounds for concern over Russian-speaking citizens in Ukraine. The best defence against unjustified Russian aggression is a policy of inclusion, particularly ahead of the presidential elections on 25 May.
“The European Union is by definition not interventionist. The strength of the European Union lies in mediation and facilitating dialogue. This is our task in the case of Ukraine and Russia, too.

“The EU continues to fully support the visa liberalisation process that has begun with Ukraine and remains committed to a clear European perspective for Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia.” Socialists and Democrats Group

*

Geneva talks today will test Russia’s true intentions

The European Parliament adopted a resolution on the eastern part of Ukraine today. ALDE are not only calling for restraint on both sides but also for extended sanctions against those individuals responsible for provoking unrest in the region.
Guy Verhofstadt, ALDE Leader said “What is happening now in the eastern part of Ukraine is totally unacceptable especially in the light of recent events in Crimea. If dialogue with Russia today in Geneva does not make Russia re-evaluate their strategy in Ukraine then the EU will have no other choice but to slap extra sanctions on those responsible to increase the pressure on Russia to relent. ”

Hans van Baalen (VVD, The Netherlands) ALDE Spokesman on Ukraine said “Its seems that Putin has learned nothing from his illegal annexation of the Crimea and continues to pursue the same policy with the same means of deceptions and propaganda.The Geneva talks that start today will be a good opportunity to test Russia’s real intentions and whether they are genuinely open to constructive dialogue or not.” ALDE Group.

*

Geneva talks must be first step to stabilising Ukraine

Commenting in the context of the Geneva talks on the situation in Ukraine and following the adoption of a resolution on the situation in Ukraine by the European Parliament, Greens/EFA co-president Rebecca Harms stated:

“Expectations are low for the Geneva talks but the stakes could not be higher for Ukraine. Everything possible should be done to stabilise the situation and enable the Ukrainian government to fully exercise its powers. All efforts should be made to prevent Ukraine becoming a dysfunctional state, along the lines of Bosnia, in which one community can use its veto power to paralyse the country. As a first step towards de-escalation, we call for an immediate withdrawal of Russian troops from the border with Ukraine.

“If today’s talks are unsuccessful, EU governments need to urgently convene an extraordinary Council with a view to preparing a third phase of sanctions against Russia. MEPs have today also called for the strengthening of the OSCE mission in Ukraine. This is essential if it is to play a meaningful role in monitoring the situation as regards human rights, atypical military activity and provocative actions in eastern Ukraine.” Greens/EFA Group.

*

Latest from the Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine

Kyiv, 17 April 2014 – The situation in Western and Central Ukraine (Kyiv, Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk, Chernivtsi) remained calm and stable with a routine police presence. Teams judged the situation in Kharkiv, Odessa and Kherson to be calmer, but the situation remained tense in the Dnepropetrovsk region, where roadblocks were being built to protect the region from groups opposed to the Kyiv government. In Luhansk and Donetsk the situation was cause for serious concern due to the ongoing occupation of some administrative buildings and capture of other strategic locations by armed individuals.

In Kharkiv, police presence was notably reduced in comparison to previous days.

The situation in Luhansk around the state security service (SBU) building remained unchanged. Representatives of the local population had previously expressed concerns to the Team that Ukraine’s signing of an Association Agreement with the European Union and the current political instability would have a negative impact on businesses and the labour market in the region. According to an interlocutor representing the “Euromaidan” movement, the occupiers of the SBU building, as well as the local police, were controlled by “local elites”, and people occupying the building came mostly from Stakhanov and Alchevsk– towns in the Luhansk district.
The Donetsk Team continued to observe the situation in the district. “Donetsk Republic” flags were seen flying over town council buildings in Snizhne, Druzhkivka and Kramatorsk. The Team also noted an increased presence of roadblocks and checkpoints, some of which were under construction. The roadblocks encountered by the team, e.g. in the vicinity of Horlivka and Drushkivka, were manned by dozens of unarmed individuals, including some women.

In Kramatorsk, the Team observed barricades in front of the police station and saw around 100people inside, mostly civilians, all unmasked and unarmed. One local policeman interviewed by the Team claimed that the police were maintaining order, but he refused to confirm his loyalty to the Kyiv government. According to an interlocutor from Horlivka, the town’s residents had removed their mayor from office on 14 April, because of his pro-Kyiv inclination, and around half of the local administration staff had been afraid to resume work, but the local administration was still providing some basic services.

The Team also visited a checkpoint on the Ukrainian-Russian border at Marynivka. Large concrete barriers were in place as well as sandbags. The level of border traffic appeared to be minimal. The Team also observed around 15 border guards armed with automatic weapons and flak jackets.

The situation in Dnepropetrovsk was generally calm and quiet. The Team confirmed the existence and location of a roadblock on the highway from Dnepropetrovsk to Zaporizhzhia, approximately seven kilometres from the city sign in the northbound lane. According to the Team’s interlocutors, 27 roadblocks had been established around the city, and a total of100 were planned. The roadblock visited by the Team was manned by five civilians carrying sticks. Ten metres to the south of the roadblock were two police cars and four officers stopping traffic. An adviser to the regional administration informed the Team that roadblocks had also been established along the regional administrative border with eastern districts.

The Team in Kherson observed the daily protest against the Kyiv government in Mykolaiv, near Kherson, numbering around 100 protesters. Some protesters were brandishing Russian imperial flags (yellow, white and black), while one protester held a red Communist flag. Overall, the event was very calm and disciplined. The police also seemed calm and of lower rank than observed during previous demonstrations.

The Lviv Team was told by Right Sector activists that they had begun recruiting for their paramilitary structure on 14 April. They said that approximately 100 paramilitaries had already been deployed to Donetsk region and were being trained in the eastern part of the country. One of the paramilitaries seen in Lviv was wearing a new military uniform, including a flak jacket, but carried no weapons.

There was a demonstration in Kyiv in support of Ukraine’s unity, attended by approximately 400people, about two thirds of whom were members of the Self-Defence force. The Team observed around 50 people armed with iron bars, baseball bats or makeshift clubs. Some protesters demanded the resignation of Interior Minister Avakov and more decisive action by the Kyiv authorities in Eastern Ukraine.

The Odessa and Ivano-Frankivsk teams had nothing of significance to report. OSCE.

    *

    Profondément préoccupé par la situation dans l’est de l’Ukraine, le Comité des Ministres soutient pleinement la réunion du groupe de contact à Genève

    Strasbourg, 16.04.2014 – Les Etats membres du Conseil de l’Europe ont apporté aujourd’hui leur plein soutien au groupe de contact quadripartite qui doit se réunir à Genève le 17 avril 2014 et réitéré leur attachement au règlement pacifique des différends et leur respect du droit international ainsi que de l’intégrité territoriale, de l’unité, de la souveraineté et de l’indépendance de l’Ukraine.

    Exprimant leur profonde préoccupation à propos des récents actes de violence et de l’occupation de bâtiments administratifs dans l’est de l’Ukraine, les Délégués des Ministres ont appelé toutes les parties à prendre d’urgence des mesures en vue de réduire les tensions et d’engager sans délai un dialogue pour résoudre la situation de manière pacifique et négociée.

    Les Délégués ont souligné l’importance de préparer l’élection présidentielle prévue le 25 mai 2014 de manière inclusive et de faire en sorte qu’elle se déroule librement ; ils ont lancé un appel à la participation de toutes les forces politiques ukrainiennes.

    Ils ont réitéré leur soutien aux initiatives prises par les autorités ukrainiennes en vue de consolider le fonctionnement des institutions démocratiques, la protection des droits de l’homme et l’Etat de droit, et se sont félicités de leurs récents contacts avec le Conseil de l’Europe.

    Les Délégués des Ministres ont accueilli avec satisfaction la tenue de la première réunion du Comité consultatif international sur les enquêtes en Ukraine, du 9 au 11 avril 2014, ainsi que la visite de la Commission de Venise en Ukraine, le 15 avril 2014, qui visait apporter une assistance aux réformes en cours, en particulier en ce qui concerne la Constitution. Comité des Ministres

    *

    Committee of Ministers deeply concerned at situation in Eastern Ukraine, expresses full support to Geneva Contact Group meeting

    Council of Europe member States today expressed their full support to the four-party Contact Group meeting to be held in Geneva on 17 April 2014, and reiterated their commitment to the peaceful settlement of disputes and their respect for international law and the territorial integrity, unity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine.

    Expressing deep concern at recent acts of violence and the occupation of administrative buildings in Eastern Ukraine, the Ministers’ Deputies called on all parties urgently to take steps to reduce tensions and engage without delay in dialogue for a peaceful and negotiated settlement.
    The Deputies underlined the importance of inclusive preparation of free Presidential elections, scheduled for 25 May 2014, and called on all Ukrainian political forces to participate.

    The Deputies reiterated their support to initiatives taken by the Ukrainian authorities to consolidate the functioning of democratic institutions, the protection of human rights and the rule of law, and welcomed recent contacts with the Council of Europe.

    The Ministers’ Deputies welcomed the holding of the first meeting of the International Advisory Panel on investigations in Ukraine on 9 to 11 April 2014, and the Venice Commission visit to Ukraine on 15 April 2014 to provide assistance for reforms, in particular regarding the Constitution. Committee of Ministers

    *

    The annual special Direct Line with Vladimir Putin

    I’d like to go back a little to review recent events in Ukraine. As you know, President Yanukovych refused to sign the Association Agreement with the EU. No, he did not refuse to sign it, but said that he could not sign it on the EU conditions, because it would dramatically worsen the socioeconomic situation in Ukraine and affect Ukrainians. Yanukovych said that he needed more time to analyse the document and to discuss it together with Europeans. This provoked public unrest that eventually culminated in an unconstitutional coup, an armed seizure of power. Some liked it, and some did not. People in eastern and southeastern regions of Ukraine were worried about their future and the future of their children, because they saw a rapid growth of nationalist sentiments, heard threats and saw that [the new authorities] wanted to invalidate some of the ethnic minorities’ rights, including the rights of the Russian minority. On the other hand, this description is relative, because Russians are native persons in Ukraine. But an attempt was made to invalidate all decisions regarding the use of the native language. This alarmed people, of course. What happened next?

    Instead of starting a dialogue with these people, Kiev appointed new governors – oligarchs and billionaires – to these regions. People are suspicious of oligarchs as it is. They believe that they earned their riches by exploiting people and embezzling public property, and these oligarchs have been appointed to head their regions. This only added to the public discontent. People chose their own leaders, but what did the new government do to them? They were thrown into prison. Meanwhile, nationalist groups did not surrender their weapons, but threatened to use force in the eastern regions. In response, people in the east started arming themselves. Refusing to see that something was badly wrong in the Ukrainian state and to start a dialogue, the government threatened to use military force and even sent tanks and aircraft against civilians. It was one more serious crime committed by the current Kiev rulers.

    I hope that they will see that they are moving into a deep hole, and that they are pulling their country along. In this sense, the talks that will start today in Geneva are very important, because I believe that we should get together to think about ways out of this crisis and to offer people a real, not sham, dialogue. The current Kiev authorities have travelled to the eastern regions, but who do they talk to there? They talk to their appointees. There’s no need to go to Donbass for this, because they can summon them to Kiev for a meeting. They should talk with people and with their real representatives, with those whom people trust. They should release the arrested [opponents], help people to express their opinion in an organised manner, suggest new leaders and start a dialogue.

    People in the eastern regions are talking about federalisation, and Kiev has at long last started talking about de-centralisation. But what do they mean? To be able to understand what they mean, they should sit down at the negotiating table and search for an acceptable solution. Order in the country can only be restored through dialogue and democratic procedures, rather than with the use of armed force, tanks and aircraft. To be continued

    *

    U.S. Mission to the United Nations: Remarks at a Security Council Session on Ukraine

    We meet today to discuss the work of the UN’s Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine and the timely report of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. After weeks of Russian disinformation and propaganda, this gives us yet another opportunity to focus on facts. The independent and impartial reporting we have heard today is essential to prevent the kind of distortions that may lead to further instability in an already combustible situation – a situation that continues to grow more dangerous every day.

    Today’s remarks by the Russian Federation, where the independent report provided by the UN was disparaged – indeed, slandered — as biased and unfounded is deeply worrying. If you don’t like the message, the Russian strategy appears to be – metaphorically — shoot the messenger. Even if these attacks are attacks on the entire international community, which asked the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to provide independent reporting, we urge the UN to continue to provide independent reporting and not to be deterred by slander and intimidation being practiced by those who do not like facts that have proven inconvenient and truths that credibly refute Russia’s false and self-justifying claims.

    Let us be clear: the actions the world witnessed in Crimea – and the denials of Russian involvement in the lead-up to its illegal annexation and occupation – are repeating themselves in eastern Ukraine. Again, a region has been transformed almost overnight: from a state of relative calm to manufactured unrest. Over the last several days, heavily armed, pro-Russian separatists have seized the city administration, police stations, and other government buildings in eleven cities in Donetsk Oblast. Every major city in the region has at least one building under occupation. It is clear that these actions were not a set of spontaneous events or homegrown, but rather a well-orchestrated professional campaign of incitement, separatism, and sabotage of the Ukrainian state. And there is substantial evidence of involvement from Russia, which is now diverting attention from its own actions, its own territorial expansion, its own fear-mongering, by trying to change the subject.

    Well, it won’t work. The contrast between the actions of the Ukrainian government and those of the Russian troops could not be starker. Ukrainian security forces have responded more carefully and in more measured ways to provocations in the East than – that would be difficult for any of us to accept in our own countries. The Ukrainian government has repeatedly sought to negotiate with the armed groups that have seized public buildings and established unauthorized roadblocks in eastern Ukraine in an effort to resolve the situation peacefully through dialogue. Ukrainian officials have offered amnesty. We appreciate the government’s statements that any actions it undertakes will be gradual and responsible. And contrary to the conspiracy theories put forth by the Russian representative just now, we continue to call for restraint, privately and publicly. Obviously, the best way to de-escalate this situation is for the armed militants to leave the buildings they have seized.

    While this report speaks to an earlier period in the crisis, it is important to note that even several weeks ago, the monitoring mission had already received allegations that some of the people stoking unrest in the region were not Ukrainian citizens, but in fact agitators coming from the Russian Federation. Obviously, it is a critical question whether Russia is continuing its policy of seeking to destabilize – and ultimately annex – land from its neighbor. For purposes of establishing the truth, it is essential that the UN Human Rights Monitoring Commission go forward with its work, and that it have full access to every part of the country, including Crimea. The United States commends the Ukraine government for facilitating the Mission’s activities, and also for supporting the OSCE’s ongoing efforts to monitor every aspect of the scheduled May 25th elections.

    Now let us consider some of the truths set forth in the High Commissioner’s report. From December of last year until February of 2014, the Berkut special police and other elements of the federal security apparatus used excessive force against anti-government protesters. This deadly violence did not end until former President Yanukovych abandoned his office and fled the country. Since late February, when the new government assumed office, evidence of human rights abuses has decreased dramatically – except in the Crimea, where Russian policies threaten the rights of Ukrainians, Crimean Tatars, and other minority groups.

    Let me emphasize that, according to this new independent report, the only region of Ukraine that has suffered a rapid deterioration in human rights is the part over which the government in Kyiv has least control. In Crimea, where the role of Russian authorities is as profound as it is illegal; journalists and human rights defenders have faced harassment and torture; censorship is common; and the presence of paramilitary and soldiers “widely believed to be from the Russian Federation” has sharply inhibited freedom of expression. The report raises valid concerns about the introduction of Russian citizenship in a region that does not belong to Russia; discrimination against Ukrainian citizens inside their own country; and a plethora of practical issues related to property ownership, pensions, wages, health care, labor rights, education, and access to justice.

    The new report also examines the allegation – repeated over and over again by Russian officials – that there have been systematic attacks against ethnic Russians in Crimea and eastern Ukraine, and that Jewish communities have also come under threat. The reality is that there have been a few isolated incidents against individual members belonging to minority groups – and we should and do condemn these incidents. But the report makes clear these incidents were neither widespread nor a reflection of government policy. On the contrary, the report presents vivid evidence that the Ukraine government has sought actively to safeguard the rights of all citizens within its jurisdiction.

    Madam President, it is revealing that, while Russia has sought to deny the realities cited in the UN’s new report, the leaders of Ukraine are making a good faith effort to implement its recommendations. Among other initiatives, they are moving ahead with constitutional reform, plans to decentralize power, preparations for the election, and initiatives to curb the corruption that flourished so blatantly under the former president. Overall, the new government has acted with tremendous restraint under extraordinarily difficult conditions. There will always be more to do, but the allegation that the government is primarily to blame for the present tensions is completely baseless.

    Before moving to my conclusion, I just wanted to draw on the even-handed recommendations in the UN human rights report in order to show that the charges against the United Nations are inaccurate. Among the report’s recommendations to the government of Ukraine are the following: ensure accountability for all human rights violations during the unrest; ensure inclusivity and equal participation in public affairs and political life; prevent media manipulation; combat intolerance and extremism; and, implement measures to eradicate corruption.

    The recommendations to the authorities in Crimea include: actively resolve cases of missing persons; take all measures needed to protect the rights of persons affected by the changing institutional and legal framework, including citizenship; disarm and disband paramilitary units; investigate hate speech and media manipulation.

    These are not the recommendations of a biased report. Madam President, the release of this human rights monitoring report should remind us all of our responsibilities. The government of Ukraine has a responsibility to continue its reform initiatives and to ensure inclusivity and respect for the human rights of all groups. The people of Ukraine have a duty to cooperate with their government and fellow citizens in seeking to resolve disputes through peaceful means. The Russian Federation has an obligation to fulfill its commitments under international law, to respect the rights and the territorial sovereignty of Ukraine, and to back its professed desire for stability with actions designed to achieve that goal, instead of its opposite.

    The Russian Federation must move its troops back from the border region, withdraw its forces from Crimea, and cease all efforts to destabilize Ukraine. The international community has a responsibility to support the people of Ukraine in their desire to build a strong and united country with a robust democracy and effective national and regional institutions. We have a collective responsibility, as well, to do all we can to prevent further bloodshed and to find a peaceful and just conclusion to what has been a tragic and unnecessary crisis.

    Tomorrow, in Geneva, senior representatives from Ukraine, Russia, the EU, and the United States are scheduled to meet to discuss de-escalation, demobilization, support for elections, and constitutional reform. My government looks forward to participating in that meeting as an opportunity to resolve this crisis through diplomacy before it is too late. Ambassador Samantha Power

    *

    NATO : Ukraine.

    Nous venons de prendre de nouvelles mesures en réaction à la crise ukrainienne.

    Nous nous accordons à penser qu’une solution politique est la seule voie possible.

    L’OTAN appuie sans réserve les pourparlers de Genève et l’ensemble des efforts déployés par la communauté internationale pour trouver une solution politique qui réponde aux aspirations démocratiques de la population ukrainienne tout entière et qui respecte la souveraineté et l’intégrité territoriale de l’Ukraine.

    Nous adressons un appel à la Russie pour qu’elle fasse partie de la solution. Pour qu’elle cesse de déstabiliser la situation en Ukraine, retire ses troupes des abords de la frontière et fasse clairement comprendre qu’elle ne soutient pas les actions violentes des groupes de séparatistes prorusses puissamment armés.

    L’OTAN a pour tâche essentielle de protéger et de défendre les Alliés. Nous avons déjà pris une série de mesures, parmi lesquelles le renforcement de notre mission de police du ciel dans les États baltes et l’envoi d’AWACS pour des vols de surveillance au-dessus de la Pologne et de la Roumanie.
    Aujourd’hui, nous avons arrêté une série de nouvelles mesures militaires pour renforcer notre défense collective et démontrer la force de la solidarité des Alliés.

    Nous aurons davantage d’appareils dans les airs et davantage de navires sur les mers. Et notre état de préparation à terre sera accru.
    Ainsi, les appareils assurant la police du ciel vont multiplier les sorties dans la région de la Baltique. Les Alliés vont déployer des navires en mer Baltique, en Méditerranée orientale et ailleurs, selon les besoins. Ils vont aussi déployer des hommes pour rehausser notre état de préparation et intensifier nos activités d’entraînement et nos exercices. Nos plans de défense vont être revus et renforcés.

    Nous allons commencer à appliquer ces mesures sur-le-champ. D’autres suivront, si nécessaire, dans les semaines et les mois à venir.

    Les décisions que nous avons prises aujourd’hui relèvent de la défense, de la dissuasion et de la désescalade. Elles cadrent parfaitement avec nos engagements internationaux.

    Le message envoyé par ces décisions est clair : l’OTAN protégera tous les Alliés et prendra des mesures de défense contre toute menace qui compromettrait notre sécurité fondamentale.

    C’est là un engagement ferme de notre part. Secrétaire général de l’OTAN, Anders Fogh Rasmussen

    *

    Real danger of a new division of Europe

    The city of Berlin is a symbol of the tide of change in Europe that swept away communism and ended the Cold War. Does Russia’s annexation of Crimea mean the past could make a come-back?

    The danger of a new division of Europe is very real. Responsible diplomacy must do everything possible to prevent it. Whether we succeed doesn’t depend on us alone, it depends above all on Russia’s future plans. Moscow must now make clear whether it’s ready to abandon the course it’s been steering since the annexation of Crimea.

    Is there any indication that Russia is prepared to change course?

    Views differ as to whether Russian diplomacy is following a prepared script. My impression is rather that Russia is bent on testing the West. I see Russia proceeding in the light of the situation as it evolves, yet driven of course, too, by the jingoism it has whipped up at home. I hope its leaders know that growing Russian self-isolation can’t be good for the country’s future. Whether our weeks of talks aimed at establishing some kind of international crisis management format can be seen as indicating a change of course will become clear over the next few days.

    Is the annexation of Crimea a precedent for how borders in Europe can be redrawn in future?

    Seven decades after the end of World War II and 25 years after the end of the Cold War in Europe, we simply can’t now go back to redrawing borders to take account of ethnic, language or religious factors. Virtually not a single country in Europe has no minorities. So our priority should be, firstly, to ensure that minorities are not marginalised. They should be helped to feel they have a homeland, a real place and equal rights in the country in which they live. Where the situation is otherwise, we should use all available political means to improve matters. Secondly, however, such situations don’t give any neighbouring country the right as self-appointed protector to resort to military means and instigate secession.

    To what extent is Russia internationally isolated as a result of its present course?

    The idea of arbitrarily redrawing borders ought to be cause for great concern especially to a multi-ethnic country like Russia. It should have realised at the latest by the vote in the UN General Assembly that its present course is viewed also outside Europe with scepticism rather than approval. If countries now worry that their borders may be redrawn on the pretext cited by Russia of protecting minorities and a new interpretation of the right of national self-determination, that’s something we need to take seriously.

    How do you see the situation in eastern Ukraine? Is the mood there clearly pro-Russian?

    No, polls show that most people there don’t want to become part of Russia. However, what’s crucial now is that the Government in Kyiv makes clear that its policies serve not just some citizens of Ukraine but the whole nation. It must be actively present in eastern Ukraine and invite people there to join in building a common future for their country.

    Do these latest escalations justify tougher sanctions in line with the EU’s phased sanctions plan?

    Our discussions in the EU over possible sanctions against Russia have been lengthy and at times not entirely easy. The consensus we now have is firmly and unanimously backed by all 28 EU countries. The first two phases of the sanctions plan are now in operation. These include travel bans and asset freezes on individual Russian nationals and Crimean politicians. We’ve also stated clearly that any Russian attempt to take over parts of eastern or southern Ukraine will trigger also a decision on economic sanctions. That policy still stands.

    But you don’t see any immediate need for action?

    We’re working on measures to help stabilise Ukraine’s economy, a programme to support administrative reforms and the rapid deployment of a joint EU mission to support reforms in the police and justice sector. This is intended to help restore confidence in the rule of law in Ukraine.

    You’ve pointed out that Ukraine shouldn’t be forced to choose between East and West.Does that mean you rule out Ukrainian membership of the EU and NATO even as a long-term possibility?

    What I’ve said is that our first priority should be to prevent Ukraine’s political and economic collapse. The EU and the IMF have offered concrete assistance here. What’s important now is for people in Ukraine to see the benefits of this assistance in their own lives. This means the Government in Kyiv must crack down on corruption and create the conditions required for good governance. We would be ill advised to link this process with pressure on Ukraine to decide on NATO or EU membership. As far as NATO is concerned, I share the view of the American President, who says he doesn’t see Ukraine heading for NATO membership.

    Is Russia entitled to a sphere of influence in Eastern Europe more or less identical – apart from the Baltic states – with that of the former Soviet Union?

    Since the end of the Cold War the world has become a very different place. For us Germans this has been a great boon, enabling us to regain our unity. No one has the right to turn the clock back and resurrect a vanished bipolar world in which geopolitical spaces belong either to the East or the West. And one reason that’s not going to happen is the entry of new players onto the international stage. There are countries in Asia and Latin America with growing economic clout which aspire also to greater political influence. This means that no country anywhere, including Russia, can expect old-style geopolitics to go unchallenged.

    So Russia has no veto over the future course of Ukraine and other countries of the former Soviet Union?

    No. But the fact remains, like it or not, that Ukraine is a large country situated between the EU’s eastern border and Russia’s western border with close political, economic and also person-to-person ties with Russia. We must do everything in our power to help Ukraine stay together and aid its political and economic recovery. Without Russia that will be hardly possible. Most Ukrainian companies are dependent on the Russian market. For that reason alone it’s important not to cut these links. So the attempt to engage Russia here doesn’t mean accommodating Russia or giving it some kind of gift. This is something that’s in Ukraine’s interests and in our own interests, too.

    So you argue for a constructive dialogue with Russia?

    The question implies that there are ample other good instruments available to us. That, I may point out, is not the case. Unless of course we assume that a policy of breaking off contacts and sanctions will somehow get rid of Russia’s restrictions on Ukrainian imports and ensure cheaper gas for Ukraine. Since I don’t share these hopes, I’m doing my utmost to get serious negotiations also between Russia and Ukraine going as soon as possible.

    Did the three foreign ministers’ trip to Kyiv spur the end of the Yanukovych regime and so indirectly provoke the annexation of Crimea? In other words, was the EU partly responsible for the escalation?

    We set off at a time when already 80 people in Kyiv had been killed. When we arrived, Ukrainians were shooting at each other. Stopping the killing and preventing a civil war was important enough, we felt. None of us three were under any illusion that this would already produce a solution. Of course further initiatives are now needed to help the country stay together and build a new political and economic future. This is something that can’t be done in six or eight months, it’s something that will take years of effort to achieve. Part of this effort must be to get Russia to participate in an international contact group, whose purpose would be to persuade Moscow that a Ukraine lurching into chaos right next door is not in its interests. Whether this work of persuasion will succeed I can’t say at this stage when the contact group has still not even been established.

    One doesn’t have the impression that Russia is interested in dialogue at the moment. Who is still in contact with Moscow?

    Federal Chancellor Merkel and I are trying to keep the dialogue with Moscow going. President Obama and US Secretary of State Kerry are doing the same. We’re striving hard to reach the point where an international contact group with Russia, Ukraine, the United States and the EU as members can get down to work. That’s not yet a solution, but it’s a first step. The present situation puts diplomacy in a classic dilemma. Once a crisis breaks out, expectations of an imminent solution are raised by a constant stream of news agency reports. That’s something one has to live with. I believe it’s still possible to bring Russia and Ukraine face to face in a contact group.

    Recently you said that in future Germany must contribute earlier, more decisively and more substantially to resolving issues on the international agenda. Is Ukraine a test case for this new doctrine?

    After reunification many people in Germany believed not perhaps in the end of history but certainly in the prospect of perpetual peace and a regular peace dividend that would be paid out every year. What’s happening right now in Ukraine has definitely brought us back down to earth.

    Does Germany play a lead role in the EU where policy towards Russia is concerned?

    A lead role in the EU is something that’s regularly called for, yet something that would never be accepted. And it’s easy to understand why. We’ve created institutions – in the realm of foreign affairs the High Representative – that help avoid any competition for leadership and domination. Of course I realise that at times more is expected of the bigger EU countries than others. And we can’t live up to these expectations if we stand on the sidelines, commenting on the state of play and allocating marks for good conduct.

    When in late February the foreign ministers of Germany, France and Poland went to Ukraine and negotiated a deal with President Yanukovych, they were clearly claiming a lead role.

    On 20 February over 80 people died on the streets of Kyiv, in the days previously the death toll was not much lower. We set off amid a host of warnings about the prevailing confusion in Kyiv, for none of us knew what might await us there and who our interlocutors would be. There was a real risk we’d end up with nothing to show for our efforts. But in situations like this you have to accept that diplomacy may fail. You mustn’t let the fear of failure stop you doing anything at all.

    So diplomacy that avoids all risks is not true diplomacy?

    Diplomacy must be prepared to use also unusual formats and unconventional constellations, for in gridlocked situations that’s how you open up new possibilities. It’s a risky business, yes! But the risks of doing nothing are definitely greater. Federal Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier .

    *

    Kiev’s regime to face International Tribunal for former Ukraine

    By Olga SHEDROVA – Kiev has unleashed a war against its own people. Troops are sent to the South-East. On April 15, the airport in Kramatorsk (the Donetsk region) under the control of civil self-defense formations was attacked by Ukrainian military and foreign mercenaries. There are dead and wounded among the civilians who lived in the vicinity. An offensive against Slavyansk is expected. Turchinov said he «won’t calm down till the town is erased». Internet social networks were used to declare total mobilization in the Donetsk region.

    It’s not just another police action to counter public unrest; it’s a military operation to spark a civil war. Avakov said the decision is taken to form 12 thousand strong special operations units within the structure of Ministry of Internal Affairs. It’s not about recruiting new police operatives; the aim is to create units for punitive actions «based on civil formations». Dnepropetrovsk is an example of how these Schutzmannschaft-style «death squadrons» are formed. The city hall’s website announces that they want to recruit physically fit people in legal possession of arms. Full analysis.

    *

    Proof of Poland’s Participation in the Ukrainian Pandemonium

    By Andrew KORYBKO – Thu, Apr 17, 2014 – Polish media outlet Nie has published a bombshell account about direct Polish involvement in Ukraine’s destabilization. Its source alleges that the Polish Foreign Ministry had invited Ukrainian militants into the country and trained them outside of Warsaw in September 2013. Considering the destructive actions and fatalities they would later be responsible for during the EuroMaidan riots, such a connection would directly link Warsaw to the pandemonium. It would also implicate Poland in being the “Slavic Turkey” of NATO in Eastern Europe. The impact of Nie’s reporting can also affect domestic Polish politics, as it would prove that the political elite misled members of Parliament, which could later have direct political repercussions for Tusk’s ironically named “Law and Justice Party”. This scandal serves to highlight that Poland is starting to emulate the methods of its invited neo-colonial headmaster, the US, thereby deepening the puppet-master relationship between Warsaw and Washington.

    According to the report, 86 Euromaidan militants, some of whom appeared to be over 40 years old, came to Poland under the invitation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The pretext for plausible deniability was that they were in the country to promote cooperation between the Warsaw University of Technology and the National Technical University in Kiev. In reality, however, these individuals were whisked away to Legionowo, a town on the outskirts of Warsaw. There, at the police training center, they spent four weeks engaged in a regiment of destabilization training. Full overview.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: