Tuesday

18th Sep 2018

EU wants Ukraine ceasefire respected amid renewed fighting

  • A peace agreement signed in February 2015 is often violated (Photo: Christopher Bobyn)

EU foreign ministers want the ceasefire in Ukraine respected following a sharp escalation of fighting last week between Kiev and Russia-backed separatists.

"We restated with all the ministers the strong support of the European Union to the full implementation of the Minsk agreements," the EU's foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini told reporters in Brussels on Monday (6 February).

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 European Union will continue to support Ukraine."

Britain's foreign minister Boris Johnson told reporters ahead of the meeting that for the UK, sanctions would also not be lifted on Russia for annexing Crimea. "There is no case for the relaxation of the sanctions," he said.

Belgium's foreign minister Didier Reynders said the European Union also needed to have a greater role in the three-year-old war. But not everyone was happy with Hungary's foreign minister Peter Szijarto describing the sanctions against Russia as having little impact.

The Trump Putin gamble

The EU call comes amid contradictory signals from the US administration on Russia.

Donald Trump's flattery for Russia's president Vladimir Putin, despite evidence of US election rigging, has sowed confusion.

Trump said sanctions would remain but had also said "we’ll see what happens".

Nikki Haley, the new US ambassador to the United Nations, took a clearer line. She said earlier this month that Crimea-related sanctions would continue until Russia returns control of the peninsula to Ukraine.

The Ukraine government appears undeterred by the mixed signals from the US, however.

On Monday, its vice-prime minister Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze told MEPs in Brussels that Trump's administration would "get the whole picture" in the coming months.

"US policy is being built on the national interests of the United States of America, that includes among other things, the secure stable democratic development in this part of the world," she said.

Klympush-Tsintsadze accused Russian forces of deliberately shelling humanitarian aid centres in Avdiivka, a city in eastern Donetsk province.

The city was gripped in some of the most intense fighting between Ukrainian troops and Russian-backed insurgents last week since 2015. Klympush-Tsintsadze said 15 Ukrainian military personnel and three civilians were killed in the region.

She said Russian regular military forces and armed groups had attempted to break through the Ukrainian defence lines on 29 January. The attack happened a day after Trump had spoken to Putin about Ukraine and “mutual cooperation” on the phone.

The town, with a population of over 20,000, was left without electricity as winter temperatures plummeted to well below freezing.

Klympush-Tsintsadze also said that Russia continues to send troops, weapons, and mercenaries, across the 409km border that separates the two countries.

A lull in fighting appears to have set in over the past few days but an official from the EU's foreign policy branch, the EEAS, said the conflict remains highly volatile.

"There is still frequent use of rocket artillery, heavy artillery, mortars and tanks along the contact line," he said.

News in Brief

  1. EU investigating BMW, Daimler and VW 'collusion'
  2. Spain wants special Gibraltar chapter in Brexit deal
  3. Italy cancels Vienna talks over South Tyrol 'dual citizenship'
  4. Britain will not accept Brexit deal with Irish Sea border
  5. Slovakia seeks witness to journalist killing
  6. Finland's Stubb considers running for EU commission job
  7. Romania ponders anti same-sex marriage referendum
  8. EU lawyers back Slovenia in Croatia border dispute

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  2. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  3. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  4. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  5. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  6. IPHRCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  7. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  8. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  9. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  10. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow
  12. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want

Latest News

  1. EU promotes 'Egypt model' to reduce migrant numbers
  2. Tensions mount over Kosovo-Serbia deal
  3. New book: Why war is coming
  4. EU parliament will not budge on office expenses
  5. Why Orban's project to reshape EU politics will be unsuccessful
  6. 10 years after Lehman Brothers what has changed for EU consumers?
  7. Sefcovic launches bid to be EU Commission president
  8. Is Russia blackmailing the Council of Europe?

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us