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Estonia considers it important for Ukraine to gain control of its borders and Russian troops to withdraw


At their meeting in Luxembourg, European Union foreign ministers demanded the withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine and that the emergence of a new frozen conflict in the region be prevented at all costs.

Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said that despite the decrease in the number of exchanges of fire during the ceasefire, more than 300 people have been killed. “A ceasefire must lead to political reconciliation, the result of which must be Ukraine’s control over its borders and Russian troops leaving,” Paet said. “Sanctions are directly linked to the situation in Ukraine and they cannot be eased before their causes have ceased to exist,” he added.

The EU foreign ministers recognised the OSCE's decision to extend the special monitoring mission to Ukraine for the next six months, and underlined the need to collectively contribute to the special mission. “That the OSCE special mission is completely manned is essential to ensure its ability to monitor adherence to the ceasefire and the Ukraine-Russia border,” Paet said. According to the Foreign Minister, Estonia is participating in the special mission with a total of six observers and has allocated 80 000 euros towards the OSCE special mission.

Speaking about the situation in eastern Ukraine, the European Union foreign ministers expressed concern over the humanitarian situation there. This seriousness of the situation is proven by the fact that 90% of the population of eastern Ukraine has lost their source of livelihood and there are more than 800 000 refugees.

Paet stated that Estonia will continue to provide assistance to Ukraine. “It is important to support Ukraine's efforts to overcome this crisis. We must continue to comprehensively support Ukraine's reforms and the strengthening of democracy and the rule of law,” he noted.

The EU foreign ministers also stressed the importance of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement recently ratified by Ukraine. Paet said the Association Agreement will intensify Ukraine's political and economic relations with Europe, giving a new impetus to business ties and will increase trade between Estonia and Ukraine as well. “We consider it essential that all the Association Agreements be ratified by member states as quickly as possible, before the EU Eastern Partnership summit in May of next year,” Paet added.

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