Paet: Situation in East Ukraine unchanged, EU support needed
Nothing had changed in East Ukraine, and the attention of the international community to the situation there couldn’t be allowed to fade, MEP Urmas Paet (Reform/ALDE) said at a meeting with Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko in Kiev on Tuesday.
“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.
President Poroshenko said at the meeting that the ceasefire in East Ukraine did not work, and that Ukrainian soldiers were killed every day. Also, Russia was constantly using heavy weapons and was not abiding by the Minsk agreements, he said.
Paet stressed that it was essential to ensure the access of OSCE observers to all regions of East Ukraine, including the border with Russia. “Ukraine wants an OSCE police mission both on the front line as well as on the Russian-Ukrainen border, and this must be supported,” he said.
The former long-time foreign minister of Estonia also said that as a result of the continued hostilities and the occupation of Crimea, Ukraine was in a difficult situation also when it came to reforms. “Support by the European Union is essential for reforms to be successful and the fight against corruption to produce results,” Paet added.
Paet said the EU had to decide in the near future on granting visa freedom to Ukrainian citizens, as Ukraine had met all the conditions set by the EU.
“Hopefully, the European Parliament will decide about granting visa freedom already in early autumn,” he said.
Poroshenko meanwhile emphasized that visa freedom with the EU was important for Ukraine both practically and emotionally.
Paet also said that the EU-Ukraine association agreement needed to be implemented as quickly as possible.
Paet and his colleagues of the group of liberals in the European Parliament (ALDE) visited the city of Lviv in West Ukraine on Tuesday to look at preparations for visa freedom at Ukraine-EU border checkpoints.