Ukraine asks EU to recognize Russia "aggressor state", strengthen sanctions
Ukraine has appealed to the European Union to recognize the Russian Federation an aggressor state, strengthen Russia sanctions, and take up a key role in deploying a UN peacekeeping mission in Donbas, according to a non-paper drafted by the Ukrainian side ahead of the EU Foreign Affairs Council scheduled for March 19 where the Ukraine issue will be on the agenda.
In the non-paper, which is at UNIAN's disposal, circulated in Brussels ahead of the EU foreign ministers' meeting, Kyiv has drafted a number of proposals for the bloc in case Brussels is committed to strengthening its support for Ukraine to counter Russian aggression.
After four years of Russian aggression against Ukraine, Kyiv expects that the EU "will recognize Russia as an aggressor country and an occupation power. The EU will significantly strengthen the restrictive measures of individual and economic nature against Russia, including preventing EU companies from cooperating with Russia in the military sphere. The EU sanctions should be leveled up to the US sanctions to form the integral transatlantic sanctions regime. They must be kept until sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine is fully restored, including Crimea," the non-paper says.
Read alsoKyiv assures Brussels: No backsliding on reform in UkraineUkraine believes the EU will take the lead in promoting the deployment of UN peacekeepers in Donbas to cover the whole area beyond government control and to seal the uncontrolled part of Ukraine-Russia state border. Kyiv also deems necessary that the EU Political and Security Committee mission pay a second visit to Donbas in the coming months, while the EU – unblock the possibility for its Advisory Mission to operate in the government-controlled parts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
"The EU should take political decision to allow the EU member states to provide Ukraine with lethal defensive weapons and bolstering training assistance as a deterrent to Russian aggression with a view to helping Ukraine in ensuring its right for self-defense in accordance with the UN Charter," the non-paper says.
Kyiv also believes the EU will consider Ukraine’s engagement in the implementation of the Permanent Structured Dialogue on Security and Defense (PESCO).
Besides, according to the Ukrainian side, the EU should play a more prominent role in humanitarian aspects of a peaceful settlement in the Donbas. Kyiv hopes that the EU "will press Russia on an immediate release of all Ukrainian hostages and political prisoners".
Read alsoPoroshenko: Several divisions of Russian army at Ukrainian border fully set for interventionKyiv expects that Brussels will issue a "firm public statement of condemnation and non-recognition of Russian presidential ‘elections’ in Crimea before and after the vote on March 18, 2018; and impose sanctions against those who organized and were involved in the ‘electoral process’ in Crimea".
The Ukrainian side also hopes that the EU will take the lead in the international mechanism of de-occupation of Crimea by enforcing non-recognition policy, closing loopholes allowing Russia and certain European companies to circumvent the existing sanctions, preventing participation in “Yalta Economic Forum” (April 19-21, 2018), any future events in Crimea by representatives of EU businesses.