European Union leaders intend to extend sanctions against Russia over Crimea and Moscow’s involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine, the European diplomats say. (Image above: Crimea bridge at night)
According to EU diplomats the European Council will confirm its united support for Ukraine sovereignty and territorial integrity, and continue policy of the duration of the economic sanctions against Russian Federation.
Recently French President Macron has stepped forward in favour of rethinking the strategy vis-à-vis Russia, and some influential EU countries, namely Italy and Germany, have powerful lobbies pushing for effective relations with Moscow.
“We also had the opportunity, in the case of Russia and Ukraine, to listen to a debriefing presented after the meeting of the Normandy format, which was held in Paris by Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel. This was an opportunity to exchange views on the situation in the region and it was an opportunity, as you are certainly aware, to decide to extend the sanctions for another six months, taking into account the fact that we consider that the implementation of the Minsk agreement remains an extremely essential point for us. This is a point for which we will continue to be very attentive and very active in the future” said Charles Michel, the president of the European Council, while commenting on sanctions extension for next six months.
Russian President Vladimir Putin schedules bilateral meetings with Ukrainian, French counterpart Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and President Vladimir Zelensky at margins of the Normandy Four Summit in Paris on December 9, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov announced.
Peskov underlined that the Kremlin expected the Normandy Four summit will contribute to conflict resolution in southeastern Ukraine.
“[Putin’s] attitude is serious, the only expectation is to facilitate efforts to resolve the domestic conflict in southeastern Ukraine, ensure a common understanding that there is no alternative to implementing the Minsk Agreements and prevent attempts to dilute them,” spokesperson said.
Peskov expressed confidence in French authorities capabilities to succeed in creating necessary conditions for thec Summit despite the current protests in Paris.
“We are not inclined to exaggerate the threats the Summit could face as we believe that the French authorities are capable of creating conditions for the meeting and will do it,” Peskov said.
Ukrainian film director and human rights activist Oleg (43) will visit the European Parliament in Strasbourg on 26 November to receive in persona the 2018 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.
When Parliament’s Human rights prize was awarded last year, Sentsov was in prison in Russia serving 20 years, convicted of terrorism for setting fires to the doors of the offices of the ruling United Russia party in Crimea, and plotting to blow up a monument to Lenin. Sentsov became world famous due to 145 days hunger strike, which evoked a lot of sympathies, and reactions among public, supporting an international campaign for his release.
After serving five years he became one of thirty-five Ukrainian citizens released by Russia in exchange for Ukraine freeing an equal number of Russians.
Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov (pictured) said Russia sees “similar symptoms in U.S. attempts to persuade allies… that Russia will make attempts to meddle in their domestic affairs”. Political forces in the United States are trying to use Ukraine to achieve their own goals, Sergei Ryabkov said at the meeting with the participants in the annual scientific and educational program of the Alexander Gorchakov Public Diplomacy Fund.
“Everything that has been going on recently around U.S.-Ukrainian contacts cannot be considered otherwise than another attempt to use external circumstances for domestic political purposes,” he said. “We see similar symptoms in US attempts to persuade its allies, which defer to Washington’s opinion, that Russia will make attempts to meddle in their domestic affairs.”
Ryabkov has underlined that such accusations have not grounds: “We have proposed more than once to discuss such issues in a calm and professional atmosphere. There are specialists who understand better than diplomats what the use of information and communication technologies for illegal and unacceptable purposes means,” the diplomat underlined.
The Democratic Party of the the U.S. House of Representatives announced on September 24 the launch of impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump. The proposal came after reports emerged in the media that Trump had allegedly attempted to pressure his Ukrainian counterpart Vladimir Zelensky to take actions, which would help the incumbent U.S. president to get reelected for a second mandate in 2020.
“You know that today we are mainly discussing the military operations in Syria. To me the most important point will be the fact that we are hosting the UN Special Envoy for Syria, [Geir] Pedersen. We will discuss with him how we can help protect the political process from this new military escalation. And obviously, as you know, Member States will discuss how far they are ready to go on some measures that are on the table when it comes to the Turkish military activities in Syria, but also the drillings in Cyprus” EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini said upon her arrival to EU Foreign Affairs Ministers Council in Luxembourg.
“This meeting is important not only for the decisions it could take, but also to prepare the European Council. Because as you know, the European Council later this week will have the same two topics on the agenda, among others. It will also be useful to prepare the meeting of heads of state and government on these two issues.”
“And we will also host the Foreign Minister of Ukraine [Vadym Prystaiko] today. For me it is very important to keep the European Union’s attention, and that of the international community on that. It will be an opportunity for us to hear from him about the plans of the new administration – of the new government – on reforms. As you know, the European Union is the main supporter of Ukrainian reforms and also of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the country. So it will also be a good opportunity for us to discuss with him on the perspectives for the country.”
“The Council has extended the restrictive measures over actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine for a further six months, until 15 March 2020.”
The measures consist of an asset freeze and travel restrictions. They currently apply to 170 persons and 44 entities. The relevant information and statement of reasons for the listing of these persons and entities have been updated as necessary.
“Other EU measures in place in response to the crisis in Ukraine include:
- Economic sanctions targeting specific sectors of the Russian economy, currently in place until 31 January 2020.
- Restrictive measures in response to the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol, limited to the territory of Crimea and Sevastopol, currently in place until 23 June 2020.
The decision was adopted by the Council by written procedure. The legal acts will be published in the Official Journal on 13 September 2019.”
President Vladimir Zelensky‘s ‘Servant of People‘ party is winning the snap parliamentary election in Ukraine with 43.16% of the votes, the Central Election Commission (CEC) informed after all 100% of the ballots have been counted.
Four other parties have overcome the 5% threshold. Opposition Platform – For Life received 13.05% of the votes, former prime minister Yulia Timoshenko‘s Batkivshchina – 8.18%, former president Pyotr Poroshenko‘s European Solidarity – 8.10%, and singer Svyatoslav Vakarchuk’s Golos – 5.82%.
According to CEC, more than 6.3 million people supported Zelensky’s party, the Opposition Platform – For Live secured support of more than 1.9 million people, Batkivschina was backed by almost 1.2 million people, while European Solidarity – by 1.18 million. About 851,000 people voted for Golos in the snap parliamentary election.
Now, the Central Election Commission is to sum up the results no later than on August 4, officially publishing them in the newspapers Holos Ukrayiny (Voice of Ukraine) and Uryadovy Kuryer (Governmental Courier) before August 9. The new Rada is meet for its first session no later than on September 9. Prior to its opening, the parliamentarians will take the oath.
A snap parliamentary election was held in Ukraine on July 21. Voter turnout stood at 49.84%, the lowest ever in the history of Ukrainian parliamentary elections with more than 14.7 million people skipping the poll.