"Sometimes there is a debate among certain EU member states on the possible ease of sanctions against the Russian Federation. I want to be very clear – there can only be discussed extending and raising the sanctions against Russia," said Prime Minister of Ukraine Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Thursday, 19 March, in Brussels following the meeting with President of the European Council Donald Tusk.
The event took place before today's meeting of the European Council, with an emphasis to be placed on the situation in Ukraine.
Arseniy Yatsenyuk stressed that Ukraine "has implemented and continues to implement everything to achieve peace and stability within the country", "We are defending not just Ukraine alone, but the European border as well".
"Russia doesn’t demonstrate the desire to give back to Ukraine its territory: Donetsk, Luhansk and Crimea," he said.
The Prime Minister emphasized Russia is obliged to stick to the Minsk agreements, "For us implementation of the Minsk agreements means to have the legitimate Ukrainian government in each village, each city and each district of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, and to restore control over the Ukrainian-Russian border".
"A Russian stability formula is instability in the European Union. And if Putin destroys the unity between the EU member countries and between the EU leaders, it will be the largest success for President Putin. But it will be a disaster for the European Union", he stressed.
"I believe that the European Union will manage to maintain the unity, that sanctions won’t be eased and that macro-financial assistance to Ukraine will be sped up and an issue to raise that will be considered," said Arseniy Yatsenyuk.
Answering a question on a possibility to send a peacekeeping mission to Ukraine, the Prime Minister reminded that on March 18 the Parliament of Ukraine had adopted a resolution in which it had appealed to the EU and the UN “to send peacekeepers to ensure the implementation of the Minsk agreements".
He also stressed it had been a joint initiative of the President of Ukraine and the Government of Ukraine, "We expect that our European friends will support this idea. After all, everyone wants peace in Europe, and one of the tools to achieve it is a peacekeeping mission".
Regarding the progress of reforms in Ukraine, which was the topic for discussion with Donald Tusk, Arseniy Yatseniuk emphasized that the Government "expects the European Council will support the reforms pursued today in Ukraine".
He reminded that the Cabinet of Ministers had reduced twofold the number of taxes, approved three packages of budget austerity measures, changed the social welfare system, "We had to change the tariffs for energy resources and launched one of the most difficult but crucial programs of subsidies for the citizens of Ukraine, we have upgraded the energy sector. Throughout a year we have managed to do what hadn’t been done for twenty years. And a statement by the G7 Finance Ministers, the statements of the European Council and our European partners clearly proved that. Those who don't carry out needed reforms don’t receive 25 billion dollars from the IMF and international creditors”.
During the meeting in Brussels Arseniy Yatsenyuk and Donald Tusk discussed common approaches to further action made by the EU to support Ukraine.
In particular, it concerned a policy of sanctions against the Russian Federation, macro-financial support from the EU to Ukraine and the Government Reform Programme. Arseniy Yatsenyuk informed Donald Tusk on the steps of Ukraine aimed to ensure full and strict implementation of the Minsk agreements, namely, on the recently adopted by the Verkhovna Rada amendments to the law “On a Special Order of Local Government in Certain Regions of Donetsk and Luhansk Areas”.