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Foreign Minister Mikser: EU must respond to Russia’s activities with concrete steps

10.12.2018

Today, Foreign Minister Sven Mikser was in Brussels for the meeting of EU Foreign Affairs Council. The Council discussed the situation in Ukraine and met with Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin. The foreign ministers also exchanged views on the Western Balkans, the EU-African Union cooperation, Iran, and the situation in Venezuela.

The Council condemned Russia’s activities in the Azov Sea and called on Russia to immediately return the Ukrainian vessels, release the crew members, and, under international law, guarantee that vessels from Ukraine and other countries can pass through the Kerch Strait and sail in the Sea of Azov unhindered. “In recent years, we have observed a certain dangerous pattern in Russia’s behaviour, which has resulted in Russian control extending to new areas,” Foreign Minister Mikser said. “The EU’s response cannot be limited to joint statements in such situations, we must take concrete steps,” he emphasised. Mikser pointed out that Estonia supports introducing additional individual restrictive measures and extending the deadline of economic sanctions targeting specific economic sectors from six months to a year.

High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini reaffirmed that supporting Ukraine is a priority for the EU and that in the light of current violations against international law, the EU is looking for additional opportunities to support Ukraine both politically and through development cooperation. Foreign Minister Mikser noted that Estonia has actively supported Ukraine for many years, including in the Mariupol area. “We must find more opportunities to support Ukraine together in these difficult and dangerous circumstances,” he stressed.

Today, the foreign ministers added nine persons to the sanctions list because of their involvement in the so-called 'elections' in the so-called ‘Donetsk People’s Republic’ and ‘Luhansk People’s Republic’.

Talking about the situation in the Western Balkans, Mikser noted that Estonia supports the Euro-Atlantic integration of the region, one of the objectives of which is the stability of the EU neighbourhood. “We hope that accession negotiations with Macedonia* and Albania can start next summer,” Mikser added.

The Council also discussed EU-African Union (AU) relations ahead of the EU-AU ministerial meeting on 21-22 January in Brussels. Mikser affirmed that Estonia supports a strong cooperation between the EU and the AU based on common values and shared interests.

*former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

Additional information on EU adding persons to sanctions list: goo.gl/9bYsH2

Photographs: flic.kr/s/aHsmxf1H4W
Additional information:
Sandra Kamilova
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Communication Department
56675362
press@mfa.ee

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