Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba held talks with the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Sweden Ann Linde in the framework of her second visit to Ukraine this year.
The OSCE Chairperson-in-Office informed about her visit to the Joint Forces Operation Area, the Novotroitske entry-exit checkpoint, Mariupol, Krasnohorivka and the Mariupol Commercial Sea Port. The Ministers agreed that this trip was important for understanding the situation in the Azov Sea region, in particular in the context of the restrictions imposed by Russia on the freedom of navigation in the Sea of Azov.
"Trying to strangle the Ukrainian ports and hinder commerce is the tactics to exert pressure on governments through the pressure on people. Ukraine will make every effort to protect the economic and social stability of the Azov region. And our partners will stand by us in achieving this goal" said the Head of the Ukrainian diplomacy.
The Ministers discussed the security situation on the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine and along Ukraine's border, the Russian aggression and its humanitarian consequences.
The Foreign Minister of Ukraine praised the work of the OSCE and its Special Monitoring Mission as well as the OSCE mediation efforts in the Trilateral Contact Group.
Dmytro Kuleba drew Ann Linde's attention to a significant Russian military build-up that remains near the Ukrainian border: “Despite loud statements, there is no real withdrawal of Russian troops from our border. According to our estimates, of more than 100,000 Russian troops who were amassed along the border with Ukraine at the time of the alleged termination of military drills, no more than 12,000 have been withdrawn up to present. Therefore, this is not a withdrawal. This is not deescalation. The threat remains relevant.”
He also called unacceptable Russia's actions to shorten the mandate of the OSCE mission at the Russian checkpoints Gukovo and Donetsk on the border with Ukraine and the threat to close the mission completely. The Minister pointed out that Russia does not want independent OSCE observers to record Russian military activity along the Ukrainian border.
"Ukraine insists that the OSCE mission at Gukovo and Donetsk should continue its operation after July 31. Russia's blackmail and disrespect of the OSCE can only be stopped by the Organization's principled position and resolute actions. And Ukraine will always support the OSCE in these efforts", stressed Dmytro Kuleba.
The Ministers also discussed current bilateral issues, in particular, increasing trade and investment, supporting Ukraine in implementing internal transformations and its further European integration.
Dmytro Kuleba expressed gratitude to Sweden for the readiness to provide the original of Pylyp Orlyk Constitution to Ukraine for the exhibition during the celebrations of the 30th anniversary of Ukraine’s Independence.