EU Council Conclusions on Ukraine.


Signature of the Association Agreement with Ukraine & Embargo on Crimea and Sevastopol.

eu_ukraine_russia

© photocredit

Poroşenko’nun ‘Barış Planı’ Ukrayna krizinin büyümesine neden oldu

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Council conclusions on Ukraine

The Council adopted the following conclusions:

“1. The European Union welcomes Petro Poroshenko as new President of Ukraine. It supports the peace plan as a major chance for de-escalation and commends the President’s determined actions towards peace and stability in Ukraine since his inauguration, against the backdrop of increased violent activities by pro-Russia separatists in Eastern Ukraine and the daily loss of lives, in particular the recent downing of a Ukrainian military aircraft killing 49 persons near Luhansk. This is occurring despite the encouraging talks held with the participation of representatives of the Russian Federation and the OSCE Chairman-in-Office, upon President Poroshenko’s initiative, as well as direct high-level contacts between Ukrainian and Russian authorities. It is now all the more important that they bring rapid and tangible results.

The EU calls on all sides to agree and honour a ceasefire immediately in order to stabilise the security situation, achieve a genuine de-escalation and create the necessary conditions for President Poroshenko’s peace plan to be implemented. In this regard, the EU calls on the Russian Federation to support the peace plan and to adopt effective measures to stop the continued flow of illegal fighters, arms and equipment over the border into Ukraine, to use its influence on the separatists to stop the violence and lay down their arms, to continue withdrawing and refrain from gathering troops again near the Ukrainian border and to cancel the mandate of the Federation Council to use force on Ukrainian soil. The Council also urges the Russian Federation to use its influence to ensure immediate release of the OSCE monitors and other kidnapped persons held hostage by the armed separatists.

2. The Council recalls that the Commission, EEAS and the Member States have been undertaking preparatory work on possible targeted measures, as requested by the European Council in March, so that further steps can be taken should events in Eastern Ukraine so require.

3. The Council recalls its strong condemnation of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol and will not recognize it. The Council welcomes the work carried out on the implementation of the legal consequences of the illegal annexation of Crimea. The Council decided to prohibit the import into the European Union of goods originating from Crimea or Sevastopol with the exception of those having been granted a certificate of origin by the
Government of Ukraine or to provide, directly or indirectly, financing or financial assistance, as well as insurance and reinsurance, related to the import of such goods. The Council calls on the EEAS and the Commission to continue to monitor the situation, and to present further measures, as necessary. The Council calls on UN member states to consider similar measures in line with UNGA Resolution 68/262.

4. The European Union is also concerned about the rapidly deteriorating human rights and humanitarian situation in Eastern Ukraine and Crimea, as highlighted by the latest report of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, in particular cases of torture, killings and disappearances of journalists and activists. The European Union commends the Ukrainian authorities for the ongoing inquiries which we expect will shed light on the responsibility for such acts. The Council calls on all sides engaged to do their utmost to protect civilians and, as part of this, to let humanitarian organisations – particularly medical staff – perform their roles, guided by the principles of neutrality, impartiality and non-discrimination.

5. The EU encourages the Ukrainian authorities to continue their reform efforts, including as regards constitutional and decentralisation reforms, the rights of persons belonging to national minorities, the reform of the judiciary, fight against corruption and improving the business climate. These efforts should be brought forward through an inclusive national dialogue. The Council welcomes the continued strong engagement of the Council of Europe and other international organisations in assisting the Ukrainian authorities to ensure that these reforms are in line with European standards. The EU confirmed its commitment to support the economic stabilisation process in Ukraine through two recent significant Commission disbursements totalling 750 mln EUR in the framework of the State Building Contract and the Macro Financial Assistance in accordance with the conditions set out in the Memorandum of Understanding. In this context, the Council looks forward to the high level donor coordination meeting on Ukraine to be held in Brussels on 8 July.

6. The Council looks forward to the forthcoming signature of the remaining provisions of the Association Agreement, including its Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area, later this week. The EU is convinced that the Agreement will give an impetus for political and economic reforms, bringing about modernisation, strengthening of the rule of law and economic growth. The EU confirms its support to Ukraine in proceeding with the provisional application of the Agreement and its effective implementation.

The Council recalls the Commission’s intention to also engage in political level consultations with Ukraine and the Russian Federation on implementation aspects of the agreement, in order to dispel concerns about its possible effects. Russia’s threats of trade measures against countries that sign Association Agreements/DCFTAs are unjustified.

7. The Council agrees to establish a Common Security and Defence Policy mission to assist Ukraine in the field of civilian security sector reform, including police and rule of law. In that regard, the Council approves the Crisis Management Concept, submitted by the HR in response to its conclusions of 12 May. On this basis, operational planning can be pursued with a view to a decision on further steps at its next meeting and an early deployment in the Summer. The Council recalls the importance of coordination and coherence with other EU efforts, with the OSCE, and with other international actors.

8. The EU commends the work already undertaken by the OSCE and its Special Monitoring Mission. The EU will continue to support the Mission and looks forward to its mandate’s extension.

9. Regretting that discussions on the conditions of the gas supply from the Russian Federation to Ukraine within the framework of the trilateral gas talks initiated and facilitated by the European Commission have so far been inconclusive and that gas delivery to Ukraine has been switched to prepayment and then interrupted, the Council urges both sides to reach an agreement as soon as possible and supports the Commission in its efforts to facilitate a compromise solution. An agreement is important for the stabilisation of Ukraine’s economy and for safeguarding the security of supply and transit of natural gas to and through Ukraine on the basis of a transparent regime. In this context, the Council underlines the importance of continuing energy sector reforms in Ukraine.

10. The Council reiterates the EU’s commitment to enhance people-to-people contacts between the citizens of the European Union and Ukraine, i.a. through the visa liberalisation process in a secure and well managed environment and provided all conditions are met, in line with agreed conditions in the framework of the Visa Liberalisation Action Plan. In this context, it welcomes the Commission’s fourth progress report of 27 May 2014 on the implementation of the action plan on visa liberalisation by Ukraine. The Council shares the analysis that Ukraine has fulfilled all the benchmarks under the first phase of the Visa Liberalisation Action Plan and decides to launch the assessment of the benchmarks under the second phase. It stresses the need for full and effective implementation of all benchmarks during the second phase.

The Council looks forward to the Commission’s assessment of the possible migratory and security impact on the European Union of a future visa liberalisation for Ukraine to be presented as soon as possible, and in any event as a matter of priority during the second phase of the VLAP. The Council invites the Commission to continue supporting Ukraine in implementing the Action Plan on Visa Liberalisation, as well as to continue reporting about the implementation thereof, on the possible migratory and security impact and its follow-up, with a view to deciding on the fulfilment of all the benchmarks of the Action Plan on Visa Liberalisation.”

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    Türk Hükümeti Ukrayna Barış Planı’nı destekliyor

    Ukrayna’da devam eden ve bölgesel istikrarı da olumsuz etkileyen krizin çözümü için Devlet Başkanı Petro Poroşenko tarafından 20 Haziran’da ilan edilen Barış Planı’nı kuvvetle destekliyoruz. Plan çerçevesinde bir hafta süreyle yürürlüğe konulan tek taraflı ateşkes, yasadışı eylemlerde bulunan gruplara, silahlarını bırakmaları, gerçekleştirilmesi beklenen seçimler ve anayasal reformlar yoluyla siyasal sürece katılmaları için önemli bir fırsat sunmaktadır.

    Bu bağlamda, Ukrayna ve Rusya Federasyonu arasında son haftalarda tesis edilen, krizin çözümü ve Barış Planı’nın hayata geçirilmesi için gerekli olan doğrudan diyalog sürecini memnuniyetle karşılıyoruz. Başlatılan bu diyalog sürecini, taraflar arasında yaşanan gerilimin düşürülmesinin yanısıra, Ukrayna’nın güney ve doğu bölgelerinde süregelen şiddet eylemlerinin sonlandırılması için de olumlu bir gelişme olarak değerlendiriyoruz.

    Türkiye, şimdiye kadar olduğu gibi bundan sonra da, krizin çözümü ve kalıcı barışın sağlanmasına yönelik olarak, Ukrayna’nın toprak bütünlüğü ve uluslararası hukuk çerçevesindeki çabaları desteklemeyi sürdürecektir.

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    Turkey supports the Peace Plan in Ukraine.

    We strongly support the Peace Plan declared by President Petro Poroshenko on 20 June for the resolution of the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, which also affects regional stability. The unilateral cease-fire, which has been put into effect for a period of one week within the framework of the Plan, offers an important opportunity for the groups acting illegally to lay down their arms and participate in the political process through the anticipated elections and constitutional reforms.

    In this context, we welcome the direct dialogue process established between Ukraine and the Russian Federation in recent weeks, which is necessary to resolve the crisis and to implement the Peace Plan. We consider this dialogue process as a positive development for reducing the tensions prevailing between the parties as well as for ending the ongoing acts of violence in the southern and eastern regions of Ukraine.

    As it has done so until now, Turkey will continue to support the efforts aiming at the resolution of the crisis and ensuring the lasting peace, within the framework of the territorial integrity of Ukraine and international law. Kaynak/Source.

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    Opportunity for the beginning of a process of normalisation

    Adopting its final agenda at the opening of its 2014 Summer session, the Assembly decided to hold a current affairs debate on “The political and humanitarian consequences of the crisis in Ukraine” on Thursday 26 June, which will be followed by the address of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.

    In her opening speech of the summer plenary session, the PACE President has welcomed the recent proposals from the President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, to establish a cease-fire, declare an amnesty and initiate constitutional reform, which all “give genuine cause for hope”.

    “I am deeply convinced that we have a real opportunity to begin a process of normalisation in Ukraine, and in relations between Russia and Ukraine. It is therefore essential to implement the Ukrainian President’s initiatives as swiftly as possible, including in the field of political and institutional reform. The Ukrainian authorities can count on our support,” she said. Anne Brasseur stressed that she was however deeply alarmed by reports of the transfer to the rebels of heavy military equipment, including tanks which have apparently crossed the Ukrainian border from the Russian side.

    She also recalled the importance of the respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity “as one of our fundamental principles” of the Council of Europe. “Independence and secession of a regional territory from a state may only be achieved through a lawful and peaceful process; not in the wake of an armed conflict leading to the de facto annexation of such a territory by another state. In this context, I am concerned about calls made in the Georgian region of Abkhazia and the Moldovan region of Transnistria to join the Russian Federation. The annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation has created a dangerous precedent, but we must all join efforts in order to prevent this from happening again,” the PACE President concluded. Source.

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    Une opportunité réelle d’amorcer un processus de normalisation

    En adoptant son ordre du jour définitif à l’ouverture de sa Session d’été 2014, l’APCE a décidé de tenir, le jeudi 26 juin, un débat d’actualité sur les conséquences politiques et humanitaires de la crise en Ukraine, qui sera suivi du discours de Petro Porochenko, Président de l’Ukraine.

    Dans son discours d’ouverture de la session d’été, la Présidente de l’APCE a salué les propositions présentées par le Président ukrainien Petro Poroshenko, notamment l’instauration d’un cessez-le-feu, d’une amnistie et d’une réforme constitutionnelle, comme « porteurs d’espoir ». « Je suis profondément convaincue que nous disposons d’une opportunité réelle d’amorcer un processus de normalisation en Ukraine, ainsi qu’entre la Russie et l’Ukraine. Il est donc essentiel de procéder à la mise en œuvre des initiatives du Président de l’Ukraine le plus rapidement possible, y compris dans le domaine des réformes politiques et institutionnelles. Les autorités ukrainiennes peuvent compter sur notre soutien, » a-t-elle déclaré. Elle s’est cependant dite profondément alarmée par les informations faisant état de transfert aux rebelles d’équipement militaire lourd, y compris de chars d’assaut qui auraient traversé la frontière ukrainienne du côté de la Russie.

    Mme Brasseur a également rappelé l’importance du respect de la souveraineté et de l’intégrité territoriale « comme l’un des principes fondamentaux ». « L’indépendance et la sécession d’une région à l’égard de l’Etat dont elle fait partie ne peuvent être que le résultat d’un processus légal et pacifique, et non la conséquence d’un conflit armé conduisant à l’annexion de facto de ce territoire par un autre Etat, » a-t-elle souligné. Elle s’est dite particulièrement préoccupée par l’appel lancé par la région géorgienne d’Abkhazie et la région moldave de Transnistrie à rejoindre la Fédération de Russie. « L’annexion de la Crimée par cette dernière a créé un dangereux précédent ; nous devons donc tous unir nos efforts pour éviter que cela ne se reproduise, » a-t-elle conclu. Source.

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    Technical preparations for signing the Association Agreement with Ukraine finalised

    The Council today finalised technical preparations for the signature of the . It is intended to deepen Ukraine’s political association and economic integration with the EU and to establish a deep and comprehensive free trade area. The political provisions of the agreement were signed on 21 March.

    The Council today adopted the legal acts empowering the EU to sign those parts of the agreement that have not yet been signed. It also endorsed provisional application of parts of the agreement, since ratification by all 28 EU member states is a long process. This includes the provisions on free trade, which are foreseen to be provisionally applied as of this autumn after the ratification by the Ukrainian parliament.

    The text will be signed in the margins of the European Council on 27 June. European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, Commission President José Manuel Barroso and all EU Heads of State or Government will sign on behalf of the EU and its member states. Source.

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    More details:

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    Les préparatifs techniques en vue de la signature de l’accord d’association avec l’Ukraine sont achevés

    Le Conseil a achevé ce jour les préparatifs techniques en vue de la signature de l’accord d’association entre l’UE et l’Ukraine. L’intention est d’approfondir l’association politique et l’intégration économique de l’Ukraine avec l’UE et de mettre en place une zone de libreéchange approfondie et complète. Les dispositions politiques de l’accord ont été signées le 21 mars.

    Le Conseil a adopté aujourd’hui les actes juridiques habilitant l’UE à signer les parties de l’accord qui ne l’avaient pas encore été. Il a également approuvé l’application provisoire de certaines parties de l’accord, étant donné que sa ratification par l’ensemble des vingt-huit États membres de l’UE est un processus de longue haleine. Cette application provisoire concerne notamment les dispositions relatives au libre-échange, dont il est prévu qu’elles
    s’appliquent de manière provisoire dès cet automne, après la ratification de l’accord par le Parlement ukrainien.

    Le texte sera signé en marge de la réunion du Conseil européen le 27 juin. Le président du Conseil européen, M. Herman Van Rompuy, le président de la Commission, M. José Manuel Barroso, ainsi que l’ensemble des chefs d’État ou de gouvernement, signeront au nom de l’UE et de ses États membres. Source.

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    Pour en savoir plus:

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    The EU’s Association Agreements with Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine

    On 27 June 2014 the EU will sign Association Agreements with Georgia and the Republic of Moldova and complete the signature process with Ukraine, each providing for a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area.

    This is an important moment both for the EU and for the countries concerned as the Agreements will significantly deepen political and economic ties between the signatories with a long-term perspective of closer political association and economic integration.

    1. What are the objectives and contents of the Association Agreements?

    The Association Agreements aim to deepen political and economic relations between the EU and the other signatories and to gradually integrate these countries in the EU’s Internal Market, the largest single market in the world. This entails creating a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) between the EU and each of these countries.

    Following the signature much work will remain to be done on domestic reforms. In this area, the EU and each country will cooperate on: strengthening the rule of law, advancing judicial reforms, fighting corruption, ensuring respect for fundamental rights and freedoms and strengthening democratic institutions.

    Main areas of cooperation:

    Core reforms: reforms are foreseen in a number of key areas, including public governance, justice, law enforcement, economic recovery and growth, consumer protection and sectors such as energy, transport, environmental protection, industrial development, social development and protection, education, youth and culture.

    Values: the Agreement puts a strong emphasis on democracy and the rule of law, human rights and fundamental freedoms, good governance, a well-functioning market economy and sustainable development.

    Trade: the Agreements will offer their signatories a framework for modernising their trade relations and for developing their economies. Opening the markets through the progressive removal of customs tariffs and quotas, and harmonising laws, norms and regulations in various trade-related sectors will make this possible.

    As well as contributing to stability and the promotion of democratic values in the EU’s neighbourhood, the agreements will benefit EU businesses by opening up new markets and providing for a more secure business environment when investing in these three countries.

    2. Signature and provisional application

    The EU will sign the above three agreements on the 27 June 2014 in the margins of the European Council meeting in Brussels. The Association Agreements with Moldova and Georgia will be signed in their entirety, while the signing of the Ukraine Association Agreement concerns the chapters left after the political ones were signed on 21 March.

    The Agreements with all three countries foresee provisional application so that an impact may be expected to a large extent already prior to ratification by the European Parliament and EU member states, a process that may take some time to complete.

    The Association Agreements provide for provisional application to start on the first day of the second month after both the EU and the respective partner countries have fulfilled required procedures on their side. Signature and the consequent implementation of the Association Agreements will confirm and seal political association and economic integration with the EU, but the greater the commitment and implementation of the Agreements, the greater the opportunities they will offer. Earmarked for provisional application are provisions regarding such important EU values as democracy, human rights and the rule of law as well as the principles of a free market economy, sustainable development and effective multilateralism.

    For Georgia and Moldova important provisions regarding conflict prevention, crisis management and regional stability are to be implemented. For Ukraine there is a provision on regional application (consistent with the non-recognition policy of the illegal annexation of Crimea) included in the Final Act to the Agreement.

    Another important area where provisional application can start soon is that of economic and sectorial cooperation. This concerns, for example, consumer protection, financial services, civil society cooperation and the countries’ participation in EU Agencies and programmes. The Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area part of the Association Agreement will be provisionally implemented, alongside the financial assistance and anti-fraud and control provisions.

    Between the signature of the Association Agreements and the beginning of their provisional application a considerable amount of work will need to be done to prepare the institutional set-up. This includes the creation of the Association Council, and establishing various committees and subcommittees and their rules of procedure. The same is true for e.g. trade-related working groups, engagement with civil society and parliamentary cooperation. In this way, it will be possible to formally approve the institutional set up and the monitoring mechanisms as soon as we reach the date of provisional application.

    3. Implementation and immediate benefits

    The EU will work with the three partner countries’ governments and businesses to bring about reforms and upgrade goods and industries to the necessary standards. This will benefit an extraordinarily diverse array of sectors.

    Assistance ranges from the modernisation of the agricultural sector – e.g. boost rural communities, produce higher quality products – to better regulating financial services, so as to ensure investors’ protection and safeguard of the country’s financial system.

    How will citizens and businesses in the partner countries and in the EU benefit from the Association Agreements?

    Once signed and implemented, concrete benefits can flow from the Agreements. Examples include a better protection of consumers including lower prices and better-quality products; more business opportunities for small and medium enterprises through a wider opening of markets and, as a result, more jobs and less emigration; better access to improved health services; more efficient use of energy and the development of renewable energy sources; a better functioning judiciary sector, a strengthened rule of law and increased transparency.

    Businesses in the three countries whose goods and practices meet EU standards will be able to trade freely in any EU country without tariffs or restrictions. Likewise, EU goods and services exporters, and EU investors will be able to operate freely on partner country markets and sell more readily and cheaply to businesses and citizens in Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.

    How will economies benefit from the Association Agreements?

    Georgia

    Trade conditions for goods and services, including the wide establishment conditions for companies will be immediately improved for both the EU and Georgia, when the Agreement enters into force. This will facilitate trade and investment. This is particularly important for Georgia, which needs further foreign investment to boost its economic growth. Georgia’s enterprises will have access to the EU market without transition periods. But it is also true that a number of additional benefits that Georgia will take from the Agreement do depend on the completion of reforms.

    The Association Agreement with Georgia goes significantly further than classical forms of economic integration, offering not only improved trade and investment opportunities but also assistance in trade-related reforms with the aim to contribute to economic recovery and growth and to better integration of the Georgian economy with the world markets. Provided that the reforms are completed, an economic growth of 4.3% per year is predicted (amounting to €292m in national income).

    For example, Georgian agricultural products will become more attractive on the EU market thanks to the removal of EU import duties worth €5.7m on basic agricultural products and €0.5m on processed agricultural products. New market opportunities in the EU and higher production standards in Georgia will spur investment, stimulate the modernisation of agriculture and improve labour conditions.

    Georgia will benefit from new trading opportunities and easier access to the EU market. The Agreement should allow the Georgian economy to catch up with the EU in terms of competitiveness and thereby gradually find its place in the world economy. This will open up new opportunities not only in EU-Georgia trade, but in Georgia’s trade with the rest of the world, given the worldwide recognition of EU norms and standards. The application of these standards will bring significantly more choice and higher quality products to Georgian consumers and make Georgia a more attractive place for foreign investors. The most sensitive sectors will benefit from long transitional periods to ensure the smooth adaptation of Georgia’s economy.

    Moldova

    The Association Agreement with Moldova goes significantly further than classical forms of economic integration, offering not only improved trade and investment opportunities but also assistance in trade-related reforms with the aim to contribute to economic recovery and growth and to better integration of the Moldovan economy with the world markets. Independent economic research suggests that Moldova’s participation in the DCFTA will boost its exports to the EU by 16%, and imports from the EU by 8%. The DCFTA as a whole is expected to boost GDP by 5.4% annually, if reforms are completed.

    For example, Moldovan agricultural products will become more attractive on the EU market thanks to the removal of EU import duties worth €43 million on basic agricultural products and €3 million on processed agricultural products. New market opportunities in the EU and higher production standards in the Republic of Moldova will spur investment, stimulate the modernisation of agriculture and improve labour conditions.

    Moldova will benefit from new trading opportunities and easier access to the EU market. The Agreement will allow the Moldovan economy to catch up with the EU in terms of competitiveness and thereby gradually find its place in the world economy. This will open up new opportunities not only in EU-Moldova trade, but in Moldova’s trade with the rest of the world, given the worldwide recognition of EU norms and standards. The most sensitive sectors will benefit from long transitional periods to ensure the smooth adaptation of Moldova’s economy.

    The trade provisions will make the Moldovan market more open for imports from the EU. This will bring more competition, which normally brings prices down for the consumers. According to independent research, consumer prices are expected to decrease by about 1.0 and 1.3 percent over the short and long run, respectively.

    Experience has already proven that Moldovan producers are able to sell more and more to the European Union market. This will be even truer when Moldova has aligned its safety and health standards to those of the EU to easily and effectively sell to what is the largest single market in the world. The DCFTA will enable Moldova to go through this process in an orderly and technically supported manner, and give Moldovan producers open access to the EU market.

    Ukraine

    Through tariff liberalisation and above all regulatory approximation, Ukraine will take advantage of new trading opportunities and easier access to the EU market. It can expect to reap the benefits of its firm commitment to a path of institutional and economic reforms.

    Through the Agreement Ukraine will progressively remove customs tariffs and quotas, extensively harmonise laws, norms and regulations in various trade-related sectors, and create the conditions for aligning key sectors of the Ukrainian economy to EU standards. The DCFTA will create opportunities for trade by lowering tariffs on imports. European Commission estimates suggest that the implementation of the EU-Ukraine deal is expected to boost Ukraine’s income by around €1.2 bn per year.

    Ukrainian exports to the EU are expected to increase by €1 bn per year. Sectors that would benefit the most are wearing apparel and textiles, food products, vegetable oil and non-ferrous metals. New market opportunities in the EU and higher production standards will spur investment, stimulate the modernisation of agriculture and improve labour conditions. Source.

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    Further information

    Georgia

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    Moldova

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    Ukraine

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    Texts of the Association Agreements:

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    Georgia’s Vulnerability

    Russia’s trump card in hindering Georgia’s rapprochement with the EU lies in the two occupied regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, according to a new paper published by the European Council on Foreign Relations. Following Moscow’s annexation of Crimea, author Sergi Kapanadze says Russia may even go as far as to annex South Ossetia. He also suggests Moscow would be likely to target the Geneva talks process on the two disputed regions in order to contest Georgia’s Association Agreement with the EU, due to be signed this week.

    He adds “….the Georgian government’s confidence that it is stronger and more able to withstand Russian pressure than Ukraine is misguided and dangerous.”

    The paper examines investment, trade, energy and remittances as potential areas of Russian leverage on Georgia and concludes:
    · Russia’s current investment in Georgia is small and withdrawal of Russian foreign direct investment does not pose a serious threat to the country unless western FDI were to decrease.
    · However, Georgian exports to Russia – particularly wine exports which were banned by Moscow during the political tension of 2006 – are now higher than at any point since Georgian independence and growing rapidly. Such exports would be vulnerable to any deterioration in political relations with Russia.
    · Although Georgia has been a net electricity exporter to Russia since 2007 and its dependence on Russian gas is falling, there has been an increasing dependence on imports of Russian oil.
    · With remittances from Georgian migrants in Russia growing, a remittance ban would be a potent economic weapon although it would be difficult to implement. However during the political tension of 2006 Russia expelled ethnic Georgian workers en masse.

    Sergi Kapanadze also notes that, inside Georgia, Russia is likely to fuel opposition to closer European integration through support for two relatively marginal political parties, the conservative Georgian Orthodox Church, anti-EU interest groups and Georgia’s pro-Armenian separatist movement.

    The author says “Georgia needs to acknowledge its vulnerabilities and warn its EU and NATO allies of the threat, so that when the pressure mounts they are not caught on their heels – as they were in Ukraine.”

    Professor Kapanadze concludes that the options Russia may use to deter Georgia’s EU integration – and Tbilisi’s reaction to them – could depend on developments in Ukraine because the EU’s economic interest in Russia’s Eastern Partnership area will be determined by its future relationship with Kiev. Download related paper.

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    President of Ukraine held a phone conversation with President of the European Council

    President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko had a phone conversation with President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy.

    The President of the European Council informed the Head of State on the completion of preparations to the signing of the Association Agreement with Ukraine on June 27 in Brussels. The President expressed gratitude to Herman Van Rompuy for the support to the European course of Ukraine.

    The parties discussed the signature of the economic part of the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU. Also, they coordinated their positions on the eve of the European Council session of June 27, 2014.

    Herman Van Rompuy highly evaluated the peaceful plan of Petro Poroshenko on the settlement of the situation in the east of Ukraine. “Today, not only member-states of the EU, but also the whole world support the peaceful plan of Ukraine,” he stressed.

    Petro Poroshenko informed Herman Van Rompuy on 29 occasions of ceasefire violation by militants in Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

    Herman Van Rompuy expressed concern over the situation in the east of Ukraine and informed the President on the possibility of imposing additional sanctions against Russia unless all efforts are taken to restore peace. The Ukrainian President expressed belief that the Russian Federation will support the peaceful plan not only in words, but also in deeds. Also, Petro Poroshenko doesn’t exclude holding of trilateral consultations: Ukraine-EU-Russia at the level of experts on June 27.
    The President particularly emphasized the necessity of absolute fulfillment of such elements of the peaceful plan like the creation of 10 km long buffer zone, the liberation of hostages and the establishment of control over the Ukrainian-Russian border on both sides in order to stop the illegal supply of weapons, equipment, mercenaries and drugs.

    The Head of State also informed the President of the European Council on the fact that he had received the approval from the OSCE on sending the observation mission to the roadblocks in Luhansk and Donetsk regions. “We also suggest Russia to send its observers through the OSCE mission,” he said. Source.

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    The start of contacts with Ukraine’s Choice public movement in Donetsk and Lugansk

    Vladimir Putin welcomed the news that the Ukraine’s Choice public movement has started making contacts in Donetsk and Lugansk. Ukraine’s Choice is led by Viktor Medvedchuk, who has consistently supported the idea of federalism in Ukraine. At the same time he is a respected figure in Kiev and is known in the West.

    The news has come that Mr Medvedchuk met with representatives of the Donetsk People’s Republic and obtained an agreement to hold a meeting with the OSCE mission in the aim of establishing dialogue between Kiev and southeast Ukraine. Russia supports such a meeting at the ambassador level.

    Mr Putin has made repeated statements that the only way to settle the crisis in Ukraine is through peaceful dialogue and taking into account the eastern regions’ interests.

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    QUESTION: How do you view the first day since the declaration [Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s declaration of a ceasefire]?

    VLADIMIR PUTIN: First, let us remember that we are talking about this matter on June 22, the day the Great Patriotic War began. I think that what is happening in Ukraine is an immense tragedy. People are being killed there, dying every day. So many years after the start of the Great Patriotic War, blood is being spilt on the former Soviet Union’s soil and this is a terrible thing. The fact that President Poroshenko has declared a ceasefire is without question an important step towards reaching a final settlement, and perhaps is one of the most important conditions for this to happen. Russia will certainly support these plans.

    But ultimately, it is the political process that is most important. It is important that this ceasefire open the way to a dialogue between all of the parties to the combat, so as to find solutions that will be acceptable to all sides, in order to ensure that people in southeast Ukraine have no doubt that they are an integral part of the country, have the same rights as all other citizens, and know that these rights are guaranteed, including by Ukraine’s constitution. This requires a substantial and detailed dialogue. This is the key to success.

    Unfortunately, objective monitoring shows that military operations have not ended, and just last night there was quite active artillery fire on the Ukrainian side. I cannot say who is actually responsible for this – regular army troops or the so-called armed units representing right-wing forces, but this activity is happening. What is needed is for all military operations to stop. Source.

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    Is There a Chance for De-escalation?

    By Tate MCCLELLAN – The situation in Ukraine is a high priority for U.S.-Russian relations on both sides of the Atlantic. At the same time, the election of Petro Poroshenko as the new president of Ukraine, who has publicly stated that he does not plan to cease the “anti-terrorist” operation in eastern Ukraine, does not give much hope that Ukraine will get out of the bloody situation on its own. Many experts have doubts that Poroshenko will make decisions on his own in the future due to the regular visits of American officials and advisors to Ukraine. For many observers, Washington seems to see only outside influence in Ukraine coming from the Kremlin, while its own involvement is more benign. In this sense, American officials seem to see the Kremlin as part of the problem, while Washington is part of the solution.

    However, this is not the case.Who needs such a war in Europe and why? What does the U.S. pursue in Ukraine? What is the future of Ukraine as American officials see it? Why is the White House, with all its influence on the Ukrainian elite, closing its eyes to the killings of civilians in Ukraine? How many peaceful Ukrainian citizens have to die in eastern Ukraine before the U.S. and its NATO allies see that Kiev’s policy is the policy of genocide against its own citizens? Could Moscow and Washington prevent the worst case scenario and become the joint solution to resolving this crisis before it becomes a civil war throughout Ukraine? Full analysis.

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    The Ultimate Eurasian Dilemma (I)

    By Andrew KORYBKO – A global shift in US strategy is currently underway, with America transitioning from the ‘world policeman’ to the Lead From Behind mastermind. This fundamental shift essentially entails the US moving from a majority forward-operating military to a defensive stay-behind force. Part of this transformation is the reduction of the conventional military and its replacement with special forces and intelligence recruits. Private military companies (PMCs) are also occupying a higher role in the US’ grand strategy. Of course, it is not to say that the US no longer has the capability or will to forward advance – not at all – but that the evolving US strategy prefers more indirect and nefarious approaches towards projecting power besides massive invasions and bombing runs. In this manner, it is following the advice of Sun Tzu who wrote that “supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.” The outcome is a mixture of Color Revolutions, unconventional warfare, and mercenary interventions that avoids the direct use of US combat troops while relying heavily on regional allies’ proxy involvement. This results in the promotion of American policy via oblique methods and the retention of relative plausible deniability. Importantly, the absence of conventional forces is thought to reduce the risk of a direct confrontation between the US and Russia, China, and Iran, the primary targets of these proxy wars.

    The Eurasian-wide plan of strategic destabilization and state fracturing owes its genesis to Zbigniew Brzezinski and his Eurasian Balkans concept. The US is flexible in practicing this concept, and it does not meet a dead end if the destabilization encounters an obstacle and cannot be advanced. Should this occur, as it has in Ukraine, Syria and Iraq, and possibly soon in the South China Sea, the stratagem evolves into maximizing the chaos within the launch pad states that are positioned on the doorsteps of the Eurasian Powers. The idea is to create ‘black holes’ of absolute disorder in which Moscow, Beijing, and Tehran are “damned if they do, damned if they don’t” intervene.

    Ideally, the US prefers that its intended targets are sucked into a quagmire that bleeds them dry and destabilizes them at home, per the example of the Soviet-Afghan War which Brzezinski conspired over 30 years ago. Moving away from the expansive Eurasian Balkans and reverting to the roots of ‘Afghan anarchy’ is the nature of the Reverse Brzezinski, and it poses the ultimate dilemma-like trap for the Eurasian Powers. Full text of Part I

    *

    Government military offensive in eastern Ukraine continues as US, NATO threaten Russia

    By Chris Marsden – 23 June 2014/ While the government military offensive continues, the Western media is dutifully reporting that counter-attacks by pro-Russian forces are to blame for undermining the ceasefire. This is despite the fact that a Kiev spokesman, Vladyslav Seleznyov, said, “In all these episodes, the attacks of the fighters were deflected” without loss of life except amongst the rebels.

    At the same time, US and NATO threats against Russia are being stepped up. On Thursday, NATO secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen spoke at the Royal Institute of International Affairs at Chatham House, the UK’s premier military think tank. He asserted that Russia was redeploying “at least a few thousand more” troops to its border with Ukraine.

    “The international community would have to respond firmly if Russia were to intervene further,” he threatened. “Russia’s aggression against Ukraine is an attempt to rewrite international rules and recreate a sphere of influence.”

    The next day, the United States accused Russia of preparing “additional tanks for departure” and accumulating “artillery at a deployment site in southwest Russia.” Russian forces on the border were now “the closest they’ve been since the invasion of Crimea” in March, an official claimed.

    A Ukrainian government spokesman alleged that “numerous facts confirm weapons and military equipment are being supplied to the terrorists” by Russia.

    In a weekend interview, Rasmussen described the upcoming NATO summit in Wales, set for September, as taking place under conditions where Russia’s “illegal military actions” in Ukraine had “dramatically changed” Europe’s security.

    NATO had conducted “exercises on the ground” in the Baltic states, he said, “and we will not hesitate to take further steps if necessary to ensure continued effective defence and protection of our allies.” He continued, “We have tried to develop a partnership with Russia, but apparently Russia considers us not a partner but an adversary and, of course, we have to adapt to that.”

    The US is also leading a push for more severe sanctions against Russia, to be discussed at a European Union summit in Brussels this week. Germany, France and the Baltic republics of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia have all made supportive noises in an attempt to counter fears of a high economic cost and a threat to gas supplies from Russia, which account for a third of European consumption. European Commission president José Manuel Barroso told a news conference, “I am pleading for a common position of the member states.”

    Moscow, anxious to stabilise its economic and political relations with the West and placate its backers among Russia’s oligarchs, continues to seek some form of accommodation with the US, EU and NATO. But it has been forced to take defensive measures, nevertheless. Full article.

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