Concerning the Verkhovna Rada’s “Declaration on the struggle for the liberation of Ukraine”
Concerning the National Security and Defence Council’s Appeal to the United Nation to declare Crimea a demilitarized zone
Concerning the National Security and Defence Council’s decision on ending membership in the CIS
Comment of the MFA of Ukraine on the decision to terminate Ukraine’s presidency in the CIS in 2014 and the legal mechanism for terminating membership in the CIS
On March 19, 2104, the MFA of Ukraine in due course notified the Executive Committee of CIS on Ukraine's decision to terminate its presidency in the CIS in 2014.
Ukraine’s CIS presidency commenced on January 1, 2014.
Termination of the presidency means that Ukraine will no longer preside over the supreme bodies of the Commonwealth, namely the Council of Heads of State, Council of Heads of Government, Foreign Ministers Council and the Economic Council.
However, Ukraine can participate in these bodies as a full-fledged member.
Regarding the termination of Ukraine’s members in the CIS, Ukraine, as a full-fledged member of this organization, independently determines the format and usefulness of participating in its work.
The conditions of Ukraine’s withdrawal from the CIS are contained in Article 10 of the Agreement establishing the CIS from December 8, 1991.
Under this Agreement, the parties reserve the right to withdraw from the CIS.
After this decision to withdraw from the Commonwealth is approved in the form of a Law of Ukraine, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will appropriately notify of the CIS Executive Committee.
In accordance with the Agreement establishing the CIS, Ukraine termination of participation in the Commonwealth will come into final force one year after the Executive Committee is notified.
I should note that, in accordance with international law, despite the termination of Ukraine’s participation Ukraine in the CIS, all international agreements signed by Ukraine within the Commonwealth are still in force.
The terms of the agreements remain in force for Ukraine until the ministries and departments of Ukraine conduct thorough analysis to ensure they comply with Ukraine’s interests. After this analysis is conducted, the Ukrainian side will determine the feasibility of Ukraine’s further participation in the relevant agreements.
Concerning the NSDC decision on the introduction of a visa regime with Russia
Today, the RFA MFA issued a statement on Ukraine’s plans to introduce a visa regime with Russia, in which it expresses regret alleging such actions on Kyiv’s part will complicate: relations between millions of citizens of both countries, cross-border, inter-regional and humanitarian cooperation.
However, we are surprised by something else. Why, with no explanation, did the Russian side yesterday block the crossing of Ukraine citizens in several border crossing checkpoints in Kharkiv, Sumy and Luhansk oblasts that border the Belgorod and Voronezh oblasts of Russia.
It is surprising that official Moscow sees no threat to relations between the citizens of both our states in such actions, to say nothing about aggression against the people of Ukrainian people.
Concerning yesterday's NSDC decision, it is important to first understand its true causes. And they are, in general terms:
However, I would like to emphasize that the NSDC decision has not yet entered into force because it has to be enacted by the Acting President of Ukraine.
In addition, the Foreign Ministry is developing appropriate proposals for its implementation which it will table for consideration by the Government of Ukraine in the near future.
On the signing of the political provisions of the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU
The signing of the “political section” of the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU is scheduled to take place in Brussels on March 21 (at approximately 9:30 am Brussels time).
The signing will take place during an extraordinary Summit between Ukraine and the European Union and its member states within the framework of a meeting of the European Council.
From the Ukrainian side, the political provisions of the Association Agreement will be signed by the Prime Minister of Ukraine A.P. Yatseniuk.
The “political section” will include extremely important elements for the European future of Ukraine, including:
The “Preamble, General Objectives and Principles” contains the EU's recognition of Ukraine’s European choice and Ukraine’s European aspirations as a European country, and also the defined objectives of the Agreement, that include: the creation of the association, gradual rapprochement between Ukraine and the EU on the basis of common values, deepening of economic and trade relations, particularly through the establishment of the FTA, enhanced cooperation on justice, freedom and security.
The fundamental principles that lie at the heart of the association, particularly guarantees for human rights and fundamental freedoms, respect for the rule of law, adherence to the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity, inviolability of borders and independence are fixed therein.
The “Political dialogue and reform, political association, cooperation and convergence in the field of foreign and security policy” contains provisions whose implementation should contribute to the development and strengthening of political dialogue in various fields, including the gradual alignment of Ukraine’s positions with the EU's foreign and security policies.
This part defines the objectives and directions of political dialogue. These include: the promotion of international stability and security, respect for the principles of independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and inviolability of borders, cooperation on security and defence, strengthening peace and international justice, conflict prevention, non-proliferation, disarmament and arms control, counter-terrorism, and so on.
This part defines the levels and formats of political dialogue, including conducting summits, ministerial meetings and meeting at other levels of government.
The "Institutional, general and final provisions" part is expected to introduce new formats and levels of cooperation between Ukraine and the EU after the Association Agreement comes into force, including the establishment of the Council and the Committee on the Association, and the Parliamentary Committee on the Association. A Civil Society Platform will be established to involve civil society in the realization of the Agreement.
The signing and implementation of the “political section” of the Agreement will be an important factor in maintaining Ukraine’s independence and territorial integrity. For this part, in particular, involves close cooperation in maintaining security and stability in the region.
We have agreed to maintain the integrity of the Agreement as a single document.
The timeframes for signing the remaining sections (Justice, Freedom and Security, Sector and Financial Cooperation, Deep and Comprehensive FTA) will be determined by the parties at a later stage. The respective obligations of the parties shall be fixed in the Final Act based on the results of the Summit.
The postponement of signing the sections on Sector Cooperation and FTA is due to the need to prepare for their effective implementation, as these sections contain the most extensive commitments on Ukraine’s part to implement reforms and adopt European principles and standards.
Joint Statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine and the Ministry of Economic Development of Ukraine
On March 19, 2014, OMON riot police of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation, captured and seized the property of the Ukrainian confectionery company “Roshen” in the Russian city of Lypetsk. Representatives of Russian law enforcement agencies did not provide any documentation that would give them the right to break into the premises and suspend production. The company "Roshen" had not received any official notice or warning, which would be a prerequisite for the unlawful interference in their activities.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade of Ukraine believes that the seizure of “Roshen” factories in Russia is a logical continuation of the politically-motivated launched against Ukrainian investors last year when, when a Rospotrebnadzor decision essentially introduced sanctions against the “Roshen” company as one of the largest Ukrainian producers. Currently, there is reason to believe that the Russian authorities will now begin the confiscation of “Roshen” properties that are located in Russia, which is a violation of the fundamental principle of the inviolability of private property, guaranteed by international law, in particular Article I of Protocol № 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights, as well as Article XXXV of the Constitution of the Russian Federation. With this incident, the Russian government is setting a dangerous precedent that may result in boomerang-like consequences.
The new Ukrainian government, despite Russia's aggression in the Autonomous Republic Crimea, which is an integral part of Ukraine, guarantees and respects the rights of Russian investors in Ukraine just as it respect the investors from other countries. We demand the same attitude toward Ukrainian investors in Russia.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Economic Development and Trade of Ukraine demand that Russian official agencies immediately cease interfering in the production and provide explanations for seizing “Roshen” properties.
We strongly urge Russia not to make economic relations dependent on the already-complex political situation.
On the military inspection in Ukraine in accordance with the OSCE Vienna Document of 2011 on Confidence-building and Security
On March 19, 2014 року, on Denmark’s initiative a multinational inspection mission of military observers arrived in Ukraine that will carry out a series of measures in accordance with the provisions of the OSCE Vienna Document on Confidence-building and Security. It is composed of four representatives of Denmark, one representative each from Austria, Germany, Poland and Sweden. The group will begin working on March 20 and will be in Ukraine until March 29 of this year.
Its purpose is to become familiar with the situation in south-eastern regions of the country, documenting facts of possible atypical military activities and provocation, and actions aimed at destabilizing the situation in Ukraine.
The inspection initiated by Denmark will continue to monitor developments in Ukraine, which was initiated by another multinational group of military observers who, under Article 18 of Chapter III of the Vienna Document, were in our country from March 5 to 20, 2014.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs expresses its sincere appreciation to all states that have responded to Ukraine’s to send observers for assessing the current situation and preparing unbiased reports about actual developments in our country.
The Vienna Document provides opportunities for member states or groups of states participating in the territories to conduct inspection of one other by visiting military units for assessing the annual information provided on military forces and major weapons systems and equipment, defence planning, and so on.
On March 19, 2014 another emergency meeting of the UN Security Council was held in connection with Russia’s aggression Ukraine. Participating in the event were Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations Jan Eliasson, UN Assistant Secretary General for Human Rights Ivan Siminovic, the Ukrainian delegation and all council members.
The UN Deputy Secretary General reported on the latest developments in Ukraine, including on the murder of Ukrainian soldier during the storming of a military unit in Simferopol, and on the scheduled visits of the UN Secretary-General to Moscow and Kyiv in an effort to deescalate the conflict surrounding Crimea. He called for the start to political dialogue in accordance with the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine and the protection of human rights, especially minorities.
The Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Simonovic called upon so-called “Crimean government” to facilitate the deployment of an OSCE mission in Crimea and investigate cases of gross violation of the rights of national minorities peninsula, especially the recent killing of a Crimean Tatar activist. I.Simonovic also reported on the planned dispatch of UN observer groups to different regions of Ukraine.
During the session, all delegations, with the exception of Russia, called for respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. The majority sharply criticized the de facto annexation of AR Crimea by Russia and called on UN member states and international organizations to refrain from any steps that could be interpreted as recognition of a change in Crimea’s status.
Thus, the eighth meeting of the UN Security Council in three week concerning Russian intervention in Ukraine once again demonstrated the isolation of Russia’s position in this body that is key to the maintenance of international peace and consolidated support for Ukraine. The UN Security Council’s commitment to the territorial integrity and sovereignty of our country was renewed and the inadmissibility of interference in the internal affairs of Ukraine was restated.
Foreign visits to Ukraine
On March 21-22, 2014 UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will visit Ukraine. The Secretary General of the United Nations is expected to meet the Acting President of Ukraine and Head of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Oleksandr Turchynov and the Prime Minister of Ukraine Arseniy Yatsenyuk.
The primary focus of Ban Ki-moon’s visit is expected to be the UN’s role in resolving the situation surrounding the military aggression and annexation by the Russian Federation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea (Ukraine).
On March 20, 2014, Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine A.B. Deshchytsia will attend the meeting of the Permanent Council of the OSCE (in Vienna, Austria), where he will speak to present Ukraine’s position in connection with the illegal annexation of Crimea by Russia. After the OSCE Permanent Council is over, a press conference by A. B. Deshchytsia is planned for local and international media.
On March 20, 2014, in Kyiv, a meeting is planned between Deputy Minister Sergiy Kyslytsya and an OSCE delegation led by Personal Envoy of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office on Ukraine Tim Guldimann, to discuss the results of T. Guldimann’s visit to the eastern regions of the country as well as possible forms of involvement of the OSCE to resolve the difficult current socio- political situation in Ukraine.
On March 26 – 29, a visit of a delegation of the Parliamentary Assembly (PA) of the OSCE will take place, led by Joao Soares, Special Coordinator of the Mission to observe the May 25, 2014 presidential elections in Ukraine and Makis Voridis the Head of the OSCE PA Delegation in this Mission.
Preparations are underway for organizing meetings between the OSCE PA and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine (at the level of Deputy Minister and Chief of Staff A. V. Olefirov), Acting President and Head of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine O. V. Turchynov, the Permanent Delegation of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine to the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly and the Committee of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on State building and Local self-government and the Central Election Commission of Ukraine . The OSCE PA delegation is invited to visit Ukraine by the Head of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine O. V. Turchynov in the context of preparations for the participation in monitoring pre-term presidential elections Ukraine that are scheduled for May 25 , 2014.
From March 23-29,a visit by the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities Astrid Thors is being planned to discuss the current socio-political situation in Ukraine (Kyiv, Donetsk, Luhansk, Odesa [and AR Crimea, if that is possible]).
The OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) Mission on observing the presidential elections in Ukraine scheduled for May 25, 2014, began working on March 19, 2014. Observation will be carried out by 100 long-term observers (their arrival is expected on March 27, 2014) and 900 short term observers (who are expected to arrive one week prior to the elections).
From March 22-24, a delegation of the Presidential Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, led by President Anne Brasseur will visit Ukraine. The delegation will include the Co-Rapporteurs on Ukraine of the PACE Monitoring Committee. The CE delegation plans on visiting Kyiv, Donetsk and Lviv.
On March 20-22, Deputy US Secretary of State Wendy Sherman will visit Ukraine. She is expected to meet with the country’s leadership, including Acting President and Head of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine O. V. Turchynov.
On March 23, a US Congress delegation led by Senator Kelly Ayotte will visit Ukraine. The program includes a series of meetings between American legislators and Ukrainian officials.
On March 22, an official visit by Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs of Germany Frank-Walter Steinmeier will take place in Ukraine. Meetings are planned with Acting President and Head of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine O. V. Turchynov and Prime Minister Arseniy Yatseniuk, as is a visit to Donetsk where a meeting is planned with the Head of the Donetsk Oblast State Administration Serhiy Taruta.
On March 22, the working visit of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Iceland Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson will take place that includes visiting Kyiv and Lviv.
A meeting between the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Iceland and the Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine A. Deshchytsia is planned.
On Saturday, March 22 березня at 14:00, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Iceland will give a press conference for media representative at the Ukrainian Crisis Media Centre in Hotel “Ukrayina.”
On March 20, a working visit to Ukraine is being planned by the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Slovenia Igor Sencar that includes a meeting the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Danylo Lubkivsky.
The sides plan on discussion the situation in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, cooperation in the context of Euro-integration and bilateral issues.
Om March 21, 2014, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Slovenia will visit Odesa where he will meet with Odesa regional officials.
Schengen visas for citizens of Ukraine in 2013
The European Commission has published official statistics about Schengen visas issued to citizens of Ukraine in 2013. The EU noted a positive trend, which improves with each year, since the Agreement between Ukraine and the EU on visa facilitation was entered into. Thus, according to the European Commission:
- the number of visa refusals fell from 2.03% in 2012 to 1,9% in 2013 (notable is the significant reduction in the number of visa refusals by individual EU Member States in 2013 compared with 2012: Italy – from 4.94% to 1.4%, Finland – from 4.64% to 1.4%, Portugal – from 0.99% to 0.5%);
- compared to 2012, the total number of Schengen visas issued grew by 274,000 in 2013 to a total of 1.56 million visas (consular offices in Slovakia issued 87 thousand visas in 2013, which is twice higher than the previous year, consular offices in Poland increased the number of visas issued by 80 thousand to 528,000, Greece – 73,000 to 201,000, Spain – 26,000 to 104,000, Italy – 13,000 to 62,000);
- the proportion of multiple-entry visas exceeded previous years and reached 39% (38.5% in 2012).
The MFA of Ukraine welcomes the positive dynamics of the European side’s implementation of the Agreement between Ukraine and the EU on visa facilitation and looks forward to a decision by the EU to move to the second phase of implementation of the Action Plan for liberalization of EU visa regime for Ukraine and the introduction of visa-free travel for short trips by citizens of Ukraine.