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Foreign Minister Reinsalu: Russia is attempting to destabilise Ukraine under the cover of the coronavirus crisis

21. April 2020 - 19:48

At a video conference held today 21 April with his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba, Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu emphasised that Russia had not taken any real steps towards the peaceful resolution of the conflict in eastern Ukraine, and was using every opportunity during the current difficult time to destabilise Ukraine.

“The situation in Donbass, where a large portion of the population is elderly and therefore more at risk when it comes to the coronavirus is extremely concerning. The ceasefire in Donbass is not holding. Using the virus as an excuse, the separatists controlled by Russia are blocking access to Donbass for observers from the OSCE mission, UN agencies and the Red Cross. There are also great difficulties with humanitarian aid reaching the region. All this blatantly contradicts the UN Secretary-General’s call for a global ceasefire and unlimited humanitarian access,” Reinsalu said.

The foreign minister said that in the current situation, Ukraine needed the unequivocal and clear support from the European Union in particular. “The sanctions on Russia must remain in place. The fact that we are all fighting the coronavirus together does not mean that we should close our eyes to blatant violations of international law. Yet another step by Russia aiming at undermining the territorial integrity of Ukraine – building a rail link across the Kerch bridge – demands a concrete response from the European Union,” Reinsalu emphasised.

Reinsalu stated that in the UN Security Council, Estonia would keep the issue of Ukraine in focus, and as recently as last month Estonia organised an informal meeting on the deteriorating human rights situation in Crimea. Estonia will hold the presidency of the Security Council in May and plans to discuss security threats in Europe.

Reinsalu recognised Ukraine for the fact that despite the coronavirus crisis that requires additional resources, the country continues with the implementation of democratic processes. “Ukraine has demonstrated that it is serious about its ambitious reform plans. The COVID-19 crisis shows all the more clearly that those reforms must continue. As a part of moving towards greater transparency and efficiency, we encourage Ukraine to continue with the development and uptake of e-services,” the foreign minister added.

At the meeting, the foreign minister of Ukraine gave an overview of the situation in Ukraine, and participants discussed ways for the European Union to support Ukraine during this time. The video conference was organised by Denmark ahead of the video meeting of European Union foreign ministers, which will focus on the situation in Ukraine.

The agenda also includes Eastern Partnership.

Additional information:

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Estonia
Communication Department
press@mfa.ee

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