17th Sep 2019

EU urges both sides to stop shelling in Ukraine

  • Ukrainian artillery position near the front line in east Ukraine (Photo: Christopher Bobyn)

The EU foreign service has urged both sides to stop ceasefire violations in Ukraine, in a situation described as “explosive” by Germany.

Its spokeswoman, Catherine Ray, told press in Brussels on Monday (17 August): “We really strongly condemn this escalation of fighting and we call on all sides to cease it and to observe the ceasefire”.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

The US State Department the same day blamed Russia’s hybrid forces for the flare-up.

“There can be no mistake about who is responsible: Russia and the separatists are launching these attacks, just as they escalated the conflict last August”, its spokesman, John Kirby, said in Washington.

“Efforts by Russia and the separatists to grab more territory will be met with further costs”.

For its part, Ukraine says that a Russian “terrorist attack” used artillery to fire on civilian homes in villages on the outskirts of Mariupol in south-east Ukraine in the small hours of Monday morning, killing three civilians and two soldiers.

It says the attack is part of a “significant aggravation” over the past week, in which the Russian side shelled its positions more than 850 times, including 175 times on Friday.

The international monitors in the region, the OSCE, noted in their latest report, also on Monday, that “a significant increase in ceasefire violations was observed in [Ukraine] government-controlled areas” over the weekend, however.

The Russian FM, Sergei Lavrov, said the "Ukrainian leadership is escalating the situation".

Spokesmen for the Russian-occupied parts of Donetsk in east Ukraine also said five civilians were killed.

The German foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, described the atmosphere as “explosive” in an interview with the Bild daily on Sunday.

Lithuania’s foreign minister, Linas Linkevicius, said on Twitter on Monday that Russia appears to be trying to undo the so-called Minsk ceasefire accord.

He also drew attention to Russian leader Vladimir Putin’s visit to Russian-occupied Crimea on Monday, ostensibly, to promote tourism, as another provocation.

“Putin‘s trip to Ukraine‘s Crimea and increased fatal violence by separatists look like co-ordinated efforts to undermine Minsk agreements”, Linkevicius noted.

Putin himself didn’t comment on the violence.

He used his trip to portray Crimea, which has seen a purge on the native Tatar population since Russia took control, as “a mirror of multi-ethnic Russia” which respects minority rights.

He also complained that Ukraine is “under external control”, referring to Kiev’s appointment of three foreign-born cabinet ministers and a foreign-born governor in the Odessa region.

Petro Poroshenko, the Ukrainian president, echoed Lithuania, saying the Putin trip is "a continuation of the plan to escalate the situation”.

Juncker promises Ukraine visa-free travel

Commission president Juncker has said he’ll back EU visa-free travel for Ukrainians by the end of the year, despite the political climate on migration.


How should the EU handle Russia now?

Should West help Russian opposition in its struggle against the regime, or make new deals with Putin, as France is keen to do?

News in Brief

  1. Germany prepared to top up post-Brexit EU budget
  2. New Saudi attack threats, but EU and US still divided
  3. EU anti-trust chief goes after Belgian tax breaks
  4. Luxembourg PM Bettel humiliates Johnson
  5. No new backstop proposal at Juncker-Johnson lunch
  6. Saudi oil production in flames after drone attack
  7. US: attack on Saudi oil came from Iran or Iraq
  8. Poll: Belgium's far-right Vlaams Belang largest party


Time to pay attention to Belarus

Belarus may be hosting the European Games, but Vladimir Putin is not playing games when it comes to Belarus' independence. The West needs to get serious as well.


EU should stop an insane US-Iran war

"If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!", US president Donald Trump tweeted on Monday (20 May).

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  2. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  6. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  8. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  9. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  10. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  11. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat

Latest News

  1. EU must give full support to Ukraine to dissuade Kremlin
  2. EU divided on how to protect rule of law
  3. Nordic region to become world's most sustainable and integrated
  4. In detail: Belgium's EU nominee faces crime probe
  5. France urges EU virtual currency rules amid Libra risk
  6. Brexit and new commission in focus This WEEK
  7. As recession looms, Europe needs more spending
  8. How should the EU handle Russia now?

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us