Ambassador João Vale de Almeida, the head of the European Union Delegation to the United Nations, says at the UN General Assembly 67th plenary meeting titled, "The situation in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine," that 28 European Union member states and five more countries call on Russia to "immediately stop fuelling the conflict " in Donbas, eastern Ukraine.

"We call on Russia to immediately stop fuelling the conflict by providing financial and military support to the armed formations, and we remain deeply concerned about information on the presence of Russian military equipment and personnel in areas currently not under the control of the Government of Ukraine," Almeida said in a statement on February 20 on behalf of the European Union. The candidate countries, namely the Republic of North Macedonia, Montenegro, and Albania, as well as the Republic of Moldova and Georgia, align themselves with the statement.

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"The EU remains firm in its call on all sides to swiftly and fully implement the Minsk agreements and honor their commitments in full in order to achieve a sustainable political solution to the conflict in line with OSCE principles and commitments. We call on Russia to fully assume its responsibility in this regard and to use its considerable influence over the armed formations it backs to meet the Minsk commitments in full. Respect for these principles and commitments must be restored," he said.

According to him, the EU fully supports the efforts of the Normandy format, the OSCE, and the Trilateral Contact Group. "A sustainable ceasefire is urgently needed. Regrettably, the security situation remains highly volatile and a genuine ceasefire has not been reached yet. The sides should withdraw heavy weapons, disengage and undertake comprehensive demining. In violation of their commitments the sides continue to shoot and fortify their military positions along the line of contact inside the disengagement areas, which we condemn," he said.

The EU also condemns the continuous deterioration of human rights situation in the non-government controlled areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, too.

"The duration of the EU's economic sanctions against Russia is linked to the complete implementation of the Minsk agreements," he said.

The EU also strongly condemns the continued threats and restrictions to the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM), which occur predominantly in areas currently not under the control of the government of Ukraine. "This hampers the SMM from fulfilling its mandate. The SMM must have safe, secure, unconditional and unimpeded access throughout Ukraine," he said.