The duration of EU economic sanctions against Russia over Ukraine still depends on the implementation of the Minsk agreements, head of European diplomacy Josep Borrel said at a press conference in Brussels.
Relations between Russia and Western countries have deteriorated due to the situation in Ukraine and around Crimea, which became part of Russia after a referendum on the peninsula. The West accused Russia of meddling and imposed sanctions against it, while Moscow retaliated by adopting an import substitution policy and repeatedly stated that it was counterproductive to speak to it in the language of sanctions. Russia has repeatedly stated that it is not a party to the conflict in Ukraine and a subject of the Minsk settlement agreements.
“The duration of our economic sanctions against Russia still depends on the implementation of the Minsk agreements … I assured the prime minister (of Ukraine) that the EU supports its independence and sovereignty, territorial integrity within internationally recognized borders,” the eurodiplomat said at a joint press conference with Ukrainian Prime Minister Denis Shmygal following a meeting of the Ukraine-EU Association Council.
He recalled that he had discussed the implementation of the Minsk agreements with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov during his recent visit to Russia. According to Borrell, the EU will continue to support diplomatic efforts “aimed at restoring Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
“We continue to support efforts in the Normandy format, the trilateral contact group, in the OSCE,” the EU diplomatic chief added.
Ukrainian authorities launched a military operation in April 2014 against the self-proclaimed LNR and DNR, which declared independence after a coup d’état in Ukraine in February 2014. According to the latest UN data, about 13,000 people became victims of the conflict.
The issue of settling the situation in Donbas is discussed, including during meetings in Minsk of the contact group, which since September 2014 has already adopted three documents regulating steps to de-escalate the conflict. However, even after the ceasefire agreements, exchanges of fire continue between the parties to the conflict.