Ukraine - G7 moves to impose more sanctions on Russia

Ukraine – Statement by the G7 heads of state and government¹

Paris, 26 April 2014

We, the leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States, the President of the European Council and the President of the European Commission, join in expressing our deep concern at the continued efforts by separatists backed by Russia to destabilize eastern Ukraine and our commitment to taking further steps to ensure a peaceful and stable environment for the 25 May presidential election.

We welcomed the positive steps taken by Ukraine to meet its commitments under the Geneva accord of 17 April by Ukraine, Russia, the European Union, and the United States. These actions include working towards constitutional reform and decentralization, proposing an amnesty law for those who will peacefully leave the buildings they have seized in eastern Ukraine, and supporting the work of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). We also note that the government of Ukraine has acted with restraint in dealing with the armed bands illegally occupying government buildings and forming illegal checkpoints.

In contrast, Russia has taken no concrete actions in support of the Geneva accord. It has not publicly supported the accord, nor condemned the acts of pro-separatists seeking to destabilize Ukraine, nor called on armed militants to leave peacefully the government buildings they’ve occupied and put down their arms. Instead, it has continued to escalate tensions by increasingly concerning rhetoric and ongoing threatening military manoeuvers on Ukraine’s border.

We reiterate our strong condemnation of Russia’s illegal attempt to annex Crimea and Sevastopol, which we do not recognize. We will now follow through on the full legal and practical consequences of this illegal annexation, including but not limited to the economic, trade and financial areas.

We have now agreed that we will move swiftly to impose additional sanctions on Russia. Given the urgency of securing the opportunity for a successful and peaceful democratic vote next month in Ukraine’s presidential elections, we have committed to act urgently to intensify targeted sanctions and measures to increase the costs of Russia’s actions.

Russia’s actions in Ukraine and the response from the international community already have imposed significant costs on its economy. While we continue to prepare to move to broader, coordinated sanctions, including sectoral measures should circumstances warrant, as we committed to in The Hague on 24 March, we underscore that the door remains open to a diplomatic resolution of this crisis, on the basis of the Geneva accord. We urge Russia to join us in committing to that path./.

¹ Source of English text: 10 Downing Street website.

Ukraine – Communiqué issued by the Presidency of the Republic

Paris, 25 April 2014

Early this afternoon, President Hollande discussed the situation in Ukraine with the American President, the German Chancellor and the British and Italian Prime Ministers.

The heads of state and government emphasized the importance of actually implementing the Geneva agreement of 17 April in order to find a solution to the crisis in Ukraine and prevent the situation from deteriorating on the ground.

They reaffirmed their demand that the democratic process in Ukraine be completed. The holding of the presidential election on 25 May is essential in order to allow the Ukrainians to decide freely on their future in complete transparency.

Russia, in accordance with the commitments it made in Geneva, must contribute to de-escalation by refraining from provocative statements and bullying tactics. Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty must be fully respected.

The heads of state and government called for a swift response by the G7 and discussed the adoption of new sanctions by the international community against Russia.

They agreed to call for the strengthening of the role of the OSCE observation mission in Ukraine./.

Ukraine – Interview given by M. Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, to Europe 1, I-télé and Le Monde (excerpts)

Paris, 20 April 2014


Q. – What do you say to Mr Putin about the implementation or non-implementation of the Geneva accord, and the non-withdrawal from the buildings occupied by the Russians?

THE MINISTER – The Geneva decision which was made this week – and anything which moves towards de-escalation in Ukraine – is worthwhile. But at the same time, not all the issues were dealt with in the Geneva meeting, and in particular one which is essential for us: the 25 May election. Why? Mr Putin and the Russians are saying: “the Ukrainian government isn’t legitimate”. But if you think that, then it’s even more necessary to be in favour of an election on 25 May. We’re saying that this government is legitimate and we would like – given the intensity of the Ukraine crisis – this election to take place on 25 May. And so all the efforts of the international community – at least, of those who are sincere – must focus on this election, because we’ll have a president who will be legitimately elected. And I don’t want to see some people, through certain false attitudes, making it impossible for the election to be held on 25 May. (…)

Q. – Why aren’t you going to Russia to speak to Putin? Why aren’t the French or the Germans going to Putin’s office or to Finland or Stockholm to talk to him...?

THE MINISTER – I speak to my colleague, Mr Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister, on the telephone just about every week. We aren’t going to wage war on Russia. France’s position is the following: we are – and we’ve demonstrated this – in favour of firmness on the principles and towards Russia. This is why we adopted sanctions and when there’s something to say, we say it even if others dislike it. But, at the same time, we’re in favour of dialogue, and so a solution must be found. And I speak to my colleague, Mr Lavrov – it’s my duty –, President Hollande talks to Mr Putin, we talk to the Germans, the Americans and the Europeans, and we try to move forward. And when something is unacceptable, we say so.

Q. – But what are you saying to them, because, precisely, today the pro-Russians are saying they’re not bound by what was actually said in Geneva; they remain in official buildings. There could be an incident at any time…

THE MINISTER – But this is why we said that if there wasn’t this de-escalation, which was initiated in Geneva in writing, there would be a new level of sanctions.

Q. – Economic sanctions this time, because for the moment the individual sanctions don’t seem to be bringing any results.

THE MINISTER – The new stage – if it is to be carried out – would be economic sanctions. (…)

Q. – So for France, there’s the 25 May election, the new president and perhaps his parliament negotiate a new constitution, and then this phase of decentralization.

THE MINISTER – Yes. And add strong economic support, because Ukraine is in grave difficulty. Those difficulties are accentuated by the fact that the Russians want to make Ukraine pay a high price for gas, and if the Europeans want to be consistent they must help Ukraine economically.

Q. – In concrete terms, how much? How?

THE MINISTER – Some measures have already been taken: €1 billion, as well as assistance through the International Monetary Fund. There may be other mechanisms. We’ve signed the political part of the association agreement and we’re going to support Ukraine. Moreover, it’s also in Russia’s interest, because no one country has as many economic interests in Ukraine as Russia. (…)

Q. – The other day, Michel Sapin told Europe 1 that the IMF and the European Union should or must give $27 billion in one go to Ukraine and €12 billion every year from the EU and from most of the EU countries. So it’s hard to imagine the French tightening their belts and paying for Ukraine’s civil servants or gas. That’s an observation you may not agree with.

THE MINISTER – Yes, but let’s not be alarmist, and at the same time let’s try and be coherent. If we want Ukraine’s integrity to be respected, if we don’t want it to be carved up, we must support it economically. Not just us – the Russians too and the other countries in the international community, beginning with the United States. That will obviously have a certain economic cost, but at the same time, isn’t it in our interest to have an independent country on our doorstep? Of course it is! (…)./.

Published on 18/02/2016

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