The European Union strongly supports efforts to bring peace to the people of Donbas, the President of the European Council Charles Michel said on the first day of his visit to Ukraine. On 2 March, Charles Michel joined President Zelenskyy in travelling to the country’s east. Today, on 3 March, President Michel discusses EU-Ukraine relations with the state’s leadership in Kyiv.
After his visit to the separation line, Charles Michel noted Ukraine’s efforts to improve people’s daily lives in close cooperation with international stakeholders: “I have also seen the impact of direct EU support here in Shchastya. A full cease-fire, more crossing points, and further de-mining would further improve the lives of people, on both sides of the contact line.”
“We are on the European continent, in 2021, and there is war. This is a shameful reality. People continue to die in this conflict. And to live in extremely difficult circumstances,” said President Michel. “I wanted to come here to highlight yet again how unacceptable the situation is and to meet those who do their jobs under extremely difficult circumstances.”
President Michel stressed Ukraine’s positive steps to implement the Minsk Agreements, to which Russia has not reciprocated. “That’s why our economic sanctions against Russia will remain in place. Russia is a party to this conflict, and not a mediator. We expect Russia to ensure the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission has full access to the areas of Ukraine not controlled by the government. The COVID-19 pandemic must not be a pretext to further separate these regions from Ukraine. We also call on Russia to return to the Joint Centre for Control and Coordination.”
Michel reminded that the EU has provided substantial support to Ukraine to mitigate the impact of the conflict, and announced that this year the EU would launch a new programme to support economic development and public services in these regions, including funding for the Entry-Exit Crossing Points.
On 3 March, Charles Michel meets with representatives of institutions fighting corruption, visits a vaccination centre and attends a ceremony at the Maidan monument.
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