A Ukrainian soldier watches the enemy lines during a nighttime combat duty near the town of Novoluhanske, eastern Ukraine, overnight into June 15, 2019.
Photo by Volodymyr Petrov
High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini, speaking at the European Parliament, has reaffirmed Brussels’ expectations that the so-called “Steinmeier formula” could lead to “some progress” in order to fully implement the Minsk agreements by all by the parties.
Speaking at a plenary meeting of the European Parliament on the issue of Ukraine in Brussels on Wednesday, Mogherini reminded those present about the recent “important development” in the Normandy format and the Trilateral Contact Group.
“The outcome of the Trilateral Contact Group meeting in Minsk on October 1, on the so-called Steinmeier formula, is a step that could hopefully lead to some progress towards the full implementation of the Minsk agreements by all parties,” she said.
“It should be clear that the Minsk agreements remain central to reaching a lasting peaceful solution to the conflict in eastern Ukraine, to end the fighting and the suffering of so many people. It is crucial to sustain the progress in disengagement and constructing the bridge in Stanytsia Luhanska. And we need a lasting ceasefire, towards the ultimate goal of restoring Ukraine’s control of its whole territory,” the official said.
“Crimea is Ukraine, Donbas is Ukraine. And the European Union will continue to keep this position in the most unequivocal and united manner. Through the years, we have never stopped working for the full implementation of the Minsk agreements. We have always managed to keep our unity on this, and I can tell you that five years ago, there were many that were betting on this: in the first place for it not to be possible; and then for it not to be possible to keep it,” she added.
She also welcomed the recent exchange of prisoners between Ukraine and Russia.
“We continue to call on Russia to release all illegally detained Ukrainians, and to ensure free passage through the Kerch Strait in accordance with international law. We are also investing in the infrastructure and security of the southeastern regions of Ukraine that are affected by the situation in the Kerch Strait … And I am sure that – with this parliament’s support – we will continue to stand at Ukraine’s side, as the country’s closest friend,” she summarized.