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Mikser in Ukraine: targeting aid requires a better overview of the situation on the ground

16. January 2019 - 16:29

On Tuesday, 15 January, Estonian Foreign Minister Sven Mikser and his Lithuanian, Latvian and Polish counterparts were on a joint visit to Ukraine, where they visited Dnipro with the Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin.* In the evening, the ministers are due to meet with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.

The foreign ministers expressed concern about the situation in Ukraine and reaffirmed their joint support. “Through its aggressive activities in the Sea of Azov Russia continues to perpetuate the illegal annexation of Crimea, violating the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine,” Mikser said. The foreign ministers were highly critical of Russian authorities in regard to the court decision today to detain four Ukrainian naval crew members until April. “The ships and their crew must be freed immediately, and free access granted to Ukrainian and other vessels in the Kerch Strait and the Sea of Azov according to international law,” Foreign Minister Mikser said.

In light of the events on the Sea of Azov, the ministers discussed the main challenges of the region with the mayor of Mariupol Vadim Boichenko via video link. The mayor outlined currently available ship access to Ukrainian ports on the Sea of Azov. Additionally, the foreign ministers met with legal experts of the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to discuss the legal aspects of the events on the Sea of Azov.

Mikser and his colleagues also visited the Dnipro hospital where casualties of the war that began in 2014 are treated. They also explored the Dnipro War Museum and gave a joint press conference at the site.

The aim of the visit was to give the ministers a better overview of the security and economic situation as well as aid needs in the eastern parts of Ukraine, especially the region around the Sea of Azov. “Estonia continues to support the region both on a political level as well as through development cooperation. People living in the Azov Sea region must face daily challenges – such as lack of clean water and heating, to name but a few. For years now, Estonia has supported the activities of UNICEF in eastern Ukraine. For instance, €400 000 was allocated in 2018 and 285 000 euros in 2017, some of which goes toward ensuring a supply of clean drinking water. It is important to understand the situation on the ground to target our aid even more efficiently,” Mikser noted.

Ukraine has been a priority state for Estonia for more than 10 years. Since the start of the war in Ukraine in 2014, Estonian aid to the country has increased significantly. In 2014-2018, Estonian aid to Ukraine constituted as much as €11 million. In 2018, around 40 projects were underway.

*The intended visit to Mariupol was cancelled due to weather conditions that prevented landing.

Photos: www.flickr.com/photos/estonian-foreign-ministry/albums/72157675601399807

Additional information:
Sandra Kamilova
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Estonia
Communication Department
+372 5667 5362
press@mfa.ee

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