Ukraine proposes the European Union to launch programs of targeted support of the areas neighboring the Sea of Azov in the framework of sanctions policy against the aggressor country and to introduce measures aimed to restore freedom of navigation in the region and development of Berdyansk and Mariupol ports. This statement was issued during the meeting between Prime Minister of Ukraine Volodymyr Groysman and the President of the European Council Donald Tusk.
The Head of Government stressed that escalation of the situation in the Sea of Azov should be stopped. In this context, EU sanctions against Russian officers involved, tit-for-tat sanctions against Russian ports on the Azov Sea and ships under the Russian flag as well as new sectoral sanctions could be an adequate response of the European Union to Kremlin’s actions.
"At the same time, we are coming up with concrete proposals and support projects of the Azov region and expect them to be implemented jointly with the European Union," Volodymyr Groysman stressed.
In turn, the President of the European Council assured that the situation in the Azov Sea remains the focus area of the EU. Just like the general situation in Ukraine - both in view of the existing threats and reforms that have already yielded significant results. Over the last 5 years, according to Donald Tusk, Ukraine has changed more than over the previous two decades of independence.
Regarding an issue of the Ukrainian reforms, the parties agreed that the further implementation of the transformation plan would require EU public support and enhanced cooperation, primarily through further decentralization and anti-corruption policy.
"In view of the elections scheduled to be held in 2019 in Ukraine and in the European Union we are also keen on intensifying cooperation to protect the electoral process from external interference," Volodymyr Groysman added.
On December 17, Prime Minister of Ukraine Volodymyr Groysman is on a working visit to Brussels. He held talks with the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini during which the parties stressed the necessity to consolidate international pressure on the aggressor state and strengthen the sanctions policy, first and foremost, in order to liberate Ukrainian sailors and military vessels, as well as to restore freedom of navigation in the Sea of Azov.
The Head of Government also held the fifth meeting of Ukraine–European Union Association Council during which the results of the implementation of the Association Agreement were summed up and the work on shaping the sectoral blueprint for cooperation in economic, energy, digital and security spheres was kicked off.