Estonian MEP: Eastern Ukraine, Crimea must not vanish in the shadow of new conflicts

  • 2016-07-20
  • BNS/TBT Staff/Tallinn

Worldwide attention to the circumstances in eastern Ukraine and Russian-annexed Crimea must not decrease as, unfortunately, nothing has changed, Estonian member of the European Parliament Urmas Paet stressed at a meeting with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in Kyiv.

"As new crises emerge, the danger exists that earlier conflicts move out of the focus of attention, which further adjourns finding a solution to them. Therefore, the situation of Ukraine requires constant visible action (until) Ukraine has full control over its territory again," Paet said.

Poroshenko noted at the meeting with members of the group of Liberals in the European Parliament that the ceasefire in eastern Ukraine is ineffective and Ukrainian soldiers are killed every day. Additionally, Russia is making regular use of heavy weapons and is not abiding by the Minsk agreements, he said.

It's vital to ensure access for OSCE observers to all parts of eastern Ukraine, as well as the Russia-Ukraine border. "Ukraine wishes an OSCE police mission both on the front line as well as on the Russia-Ukraine border, and this must be supported," the MEP stated.

The former longtime foreign minister of Estonia emphasised that the continued aggression in and occupation of Crimea have put Ukraine into a complicated situation in terms of reform. "Therefore support by the European Union is essential for the reforms to be successful and the fight against corruption to produce a result," he added.

According to Paet, the EU needs to decide in the near future about granting visa freedom to Ukrainian citizens, as Ukraine has satisfied all of the conditions set by the EU.

"Hopefully, the European Parliament will decide about granting visa freedom already in early autumn," he said.

The Ukrainian president meanwhile stressed that visa freedom with the EU is essential for Ukraine both practically and emotionally.

The Estonian MEP also noted that the EU-Ukraine association agreement needs to be implemented as soon as possible.

On Tuesday, Paet and his colleagues from the group of Liberals in the European Parliament were in the city of Lviv in western Ukraine to look over preparations for visa freedom at Ukraine-EU border checkpoints.