Visiting Ukrainian minister: Russian withdrawal needed to hold elections in Eastern Ukraine (4)
Ukraine demanded unlimited access for OSCE observers and the withdrawal of all Russian forces from Eastern Ukraine, the country’s foreign minister, Pavlo Klimkin, said in Tallinn on Thursday.
According to Klimkin, Ukraine expects that Estonia will present an action plan of its own concerning the situation once it takes over the European Union presidency in 2018, ETV’s “Aktuaalne Kaamera” reported on Thursday.
Klimkin told journalists that the current conditions made it impossible to hold elections in Eastern Ukraine, and that to improve the situation pressure on Russia needed to increase. The foreign ministers of Ukraine, Russia, France, and Germany met in March and tried to agree on how elections were to be held, but couldn’t agree on a solution.
He repeated the conditions necessary for free and orderly elections. The pressure on the area needed to be released, the fighting needed to stop, OSCE observers needed to be allowed unlimited access to the area, including the border, and Russian troops and equipment needed to withdraw, Klimkin said.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Marina Kaljurand (independent) said at the ministers’ joint press conference that it was time for the European Union to introduce visa freedom for Ukrainian citizens, as Ukraine had met all the conditions for it. Kaljurand promised she would take up the issue in the next meeting of the EU’s Foreign Affairs Council.
“It’s now up to the European Union to keep its promise. If the EU promised visa freedom to Ukraine and Georgia if they met all the conditions, then it has to be granted to these countries as soon as possible,” Kaljurand said.
EU Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn, promised in spring this year that visa freedom would be granted to Ukraine, Georgia, and Kosovo this year.