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Ministry of Foreign Affairs Daily Briefing
21 March 2014 15:55

Today in Brussels, Ukraine and the European Union and its Member-States signed the political provisions of the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU. 

On the Ukrainian side, the political provisions of the Association Agreement was signed by Prime Minister of Ukraine Arseniy Yatsenyuk. The EU side was represented by the leaders of the EU institutions and the heads of state and Governments of the Member-States. 

The "political portion" of the Agreement consisted of the Preamble, Article 1 and Chapter I ("General Principles") , II ("Political dialogue and reform, political association, cooperation and convergence in the fields of foreign and security policy ") and VII (“Institutional, general and final provisions”). 


Statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the signing of the politics provisions of Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU 

"Today, in Brussels, Ukraine and the European Union signed the political provisions of the Agreement. 

This event is a historic milestone in the development of bilateral relations between Ukraine and the EU on the basis of political association and economic integration, which formally establishes the civilizational choice of Ukraine for European values of democracy, rule of law, human rights and freedoms. 

Ukraine considers the signing of the agreement as a sign of the solidarity of the European Union with the Ukrainian people in the current troubling times for our country and a willingness to promote the comprehensive development of Ukraine as a modern European democracy. 

The political provisions of the Agreement signed by the Prime Minister of Ukraine, the leaders of the EU Member-States and the European institutions, reaffirm the parties’ commitment to the UN Charter and the founding documents of the OSCE, and willingness to work closely to ensure the independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and inviolability of the borders of Ukraine, and stability and security in the region. 

The Government of Ukraine considers the Association Agreement as a tool to strengthen democratic processes in Ukraine, a guide to systemic political and economic modernization in accordance with the highest European standards. 

The Association Agreement is an all-inclusive document. The parties have agreed to complete the signing of the Trade and Economic provisions of the Agreement as soon as possible and to begin its practical implementation, including establishment of a broad and comprehensive Free Trade Area.

The signing and implementation of the Association Agreement is an important step towards the realization of a strategic goal of Ukraine - membership in the European Union, as is foreseen by the Law of Ukraine "On the basis of domestic and foreign policy"  from 2010 and Article 49 of the Treaty on the European Union." 


Ukraine considers the Association Agreement as a tool in the implementation of the next phase - preparation for EU accession. Based on the provisions of the Law of Ukraine "On the basis of domestic and foreign policy" from 2010, by signing the Association Agreement with the EU, Ukraine, as a European country that shares common values with the EU, confirms its sovereign choice for future membership in the EU on the basis of Article 49 of the Treaty on the European Union. 

The signing of the Agreement is a clear signal from the EU in recognizing the legitimacy of the new Government of Ukraine. 

The Association Agreement will create robust interactive mechanisms to ensure political stability, democracy and security in the region. It signals the deepening of Ukraine's participation in the implementation of a common foreign and security policy with the EU. 

The signing of the Association Agreement will encourage democratic processes in the country, specifically in the context of a free and fair presidential election in Ukraine. 

The signing and implementation of the political agreement is an important factor in maintaining the independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine, confirming the commitment of the parties of the UN Charter and the founding documents of the OSCE. 

The political provisions provide for the establishment of new bilateral Ukraine-EU structures, in particular the Association Council and the Committee of the Association. 

The parties have agreed to maintain the integrity of the Agreement as a single document. That is, the political provisions of the Association Agreement signed on March 21and the remaining provisions of the Agreement (justice, freedom and security; sector and financial cooperation; a deep and comprehensive Free Trade Agreement-FTA) together constitute a single document. 

The terms of signing the remaining sections of the Agreement will be determined by the parties at a later stage. The respective obligations of the parties are embodied in the Final Act resulting from the Summit. 

The signing of the Agreement is a positive signal to international financial institutions. The signing restores confidence in Ukraine on the part of its international partners. 

The adoption and putting in force of EU regulations granting Ukraine autonomous trade preferences is expected shortly. Thus, the EU is willing unilaterally to enact certain provisions of the Association Agreement regarding the FTA in relation to Ukrainian exporters. Specifically - the reduction of tariffs and opening up tariff quotas for trade in goods to the levels specified by the initialed DCFTA. We expect that this will lead to a rapid positive effect in the form of a substantial increase in the export of Ukrainian goods to the EU and additional government revenue due to the increased profits of domestic exporters. 

As noted in the past, the EU Council recently supported the EU Commission's proposal to grant Ukraine a general package of financial assistance from the EU in the amount of 11 billion Euro. 


Review the events surrounding the Autonomous Republic of Crimea 

Yesterday the State Duma, and today the Federation Council of the Russian Federation, ratified   the so-called “decision” to incorporate Crimea into the Russian Federation. 

In this regard, today the Russian side was handed another note of protest, which expressed  “categorical protest against further acts of the Russian Federation regarding the unilateral incorporation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, which is part of the sovereign territory of Ukraine temporarily occupied by Russian forces, into the Russian Federation. 

Ukraine rejects and condemns the decision of the State Duma and the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, which, respectively, on March 20 and 21, 2014 approved draft laws "On the Ratification of the Agreement between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Crimea on granting the Republic of Crimea membership in the Russian Federation,and admitting new constituents into the Russian Federation” and "On admission of the Republic of Crimea into the Russian Federation and accepting new constituents into the Russian Federation- the Republic of Crimea and the federal city of Sevastopol.” 

Ukraine once again rejects the so-called “Treaty” between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Crimea on granting it membership in the Russian Federation and the admission of new constituents into the Russian Federation dated March18, 2014 and considers any steps taken by the Russian side of its enforcement as baseless. 

Ukraine emphasizes that the above mentioned acts of the Russian Federation do not adhere to the fundamental principles of international law on guarantees of territorial integrity and the  inviolability of accepted borders, and is a continuation of actions related to the annexation of sovereign territory of Ukraine." 


These decisions, as well as a number of statements by its leaders, suggests that the civilizational gap between the Russian Federation and the rest of the world continues to deepen. The words and actions of those in charge today in Moscow were not ventured forth by even the vilest dictatorships in the world. They may have despised their own people as well as played them for fools, but they did not dare to despise and play for fools the entire world, as they knew that they would receive an appropriate response. In the current situation, the aggressor and occupier dares to teach other countries how they should live, what form of government they should have, and how to protect their citizens.

Today there is no doubt that the Russian Federation has stolen part of the territory of Ukraine and now is hysterically trying to convince the civilized world of the legality of their actions. However, it has not stopped with the theft of territory. The Russian side continues to steal Ukrainian property - real estate, military installations, weapons, ships. It has sunk to the lowest level - intimidation, psychological pressure, kidnapping and murder of Ukrainian citizens who actively advocated for the protection of the territorial integrity of Ukraine. 

Obviously, in "releasing the brakes", the Russian Federation believed that its actions will go unpunished. But they are sadly mistaken. 

Today, Russia has found itself in de facto isolation and has become a pariah. The major powers of the world, the EU and the U.S., continue to impose sanctions against Russia. The international community is fully on the side of Ukraine. We are receiving wide-ranging support in various forms - from direct financial assistance, the EU unilaterally opening its markets for Ukrainian goods, and other forms - political statements of unconditional support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine and the prospect of membership of our country in the EU. 

The further actions of Ukraine in the international arena will be used to restore the status quo using all possible political and diplomatic measures. Also, to protect the rights and interests of Ukraine and its citizens affected by the acts of aggression by the Russian Federation and the occupation of the territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, Ukraine will take a number of steps allowed by international law, in particular, appeal to international judicial institutions. 


As to breach by the Russian side in the use of the airspace over Ukraine 

In the period from March 11-20, numerous violations in the form of unauthorized use of airspace over Ukraine by the Airlines "Ak Bars Aero", "Aeroflot - Russian Airlines", "Globus" and "Shar Ink. Ltd.”,  all owned by the Russian Federation, were recorded, in defiance of the Convention on International Civil Aviation (Chicago, Dec. 7,1944 ), the Air Code of Ukraine and other normative legal acts of Ukraine that regulate the use of airspace by Ukraine, and according to which the safety of any flights in Ukrainian airspace is the responsibility of the Ukraine. 

The above mentioned airlines took off and landed on a closed airfield in Simferopil without the permission of the State Aviation Service of Ukraine, without the permission of air traffic control  and without radio communication with Ukrainian aviation authorities, when radio communication with the appropriate air traffic authorities is required. 

Ukraine shall use all possible means to ensure the safety of  all civilian flights and calls on the Russian side to comply with the Convention on International Civil Aviation, Article 29 of the Air Code of Ukraine, the guidelines in the Aeronautical Information of Ukraine, and paragraph 1 of Article 8 of the Agreement between the Government of Ukraine and the Russian Federation on air services and cooperation in air transport (Moscow, Jan. 1, 1994). 


Today, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine once again called out the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Armenia to Ukraine Andronicus Manoukian , who was handed a note by the Foreign Ministry of Ukraine which expressed deep concern about the position of the Armenian side regarding the so-called "referendum" in Crimea which was published on the official website of President Serzh Sargsyan resulting from his telephone conversation with President Putin. 

The Foreign Ministry was compelled to note that despite verbal assurances to the contrary by the Armenians, their official position was confirmed during the discussion at the 1195th meeting of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe about the "Situation in Ukraine " at which a resolution was drafted rejecting the so-called “referendum"in Crimea (March 20, 2014). The Republic of Armenia voted against this resolution. 

With this in mind, we turned to the Armenian side to express the official position of the Republic of Armenia on recognition of the so-called "referendum " in Crimea. 

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine stressed that the absence of a clear statement on the Armenian side as to the illegitimacy of the so-called "referendum" will have a negative impact on the traditionally friendly bilateral relations between the two countries. 

Also today, the decision was made to recall the Ukrainian Ambassador to Armenia John Kuchta. 



On March 21, 2014 UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon arrived in Ukraine for a working visit. 

Today, the Secretary General of the UN met with the Acting President of Ukraine, the Speaker of the Parliament of Ukraine O.V. Turchynov, and in the near future is expected to meet with Prime Minister of Ukraine  A.P. Yatsenyuk. 



On March 20, 2014 interim Foreign Minister of Ukraine Andriy Deshchitsa addressed the OSCE Permanent Council meeting on the situation in Ukraine and the OSCE involvement in connection with the illegal "referendum" in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the de facto annexation of the Russian Federation of this Ukrainian territory. 

"The actions of the Russian Federation in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea should be classified as an act of aggression against Ukraine," - said the Acting Minister, adding that it is "the most flagrant violation of international law in the scope of the OSCE since World War II." 

Given Russian attempts to undermine the efforts of the OSCE for effective involvement in resolving the situation, including blocking the decision to send OSCE monitors to Ukraine, Andrei Deshchitsa expressed the hope that the OSCE can overcome this challenge and will remain an organization whose actions and words have weight. 

Almost all OSCE Member-States have taken a tough stance on Russia's aggressive actions against Ukraine, showing how completely isolated the Russian Federation is on this issue. The delegations, including the EU and its Member-States, the U.S., Canada, Turkey, Norway, Georgia and Moldova, have expressed support for the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine in its existing borders. They also condemned Russia's actions as being in violation of the fundamental norms and principles of international law and obligations arising from the participation of the Russian Federation in the OSCE.


Council of Europe 

On March 20, 2014, the chief statutory body of the Council of Europe - the Committee of Ministers,  in light of new developments, re-examined the situation around the Russian Federation’s military occupation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea. 

After long and intense discussions, the Committee of Ministers adopted a decision in which the national delegations of the Council of Europe expressed their solidarity with the Ukrainian government and the people of Ukraine. They stressed the need to resolve the current crisis by peaceful means, respecting the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine and based on the fundamental principles of international law. 

The Committee of Ministers condemned the local referendum in the Autonomous Republic of Crimes, which is prohibited by the laws of Ukraine.  As noted at the meeting, the basis for the condemnation was the decision by the Constitutional Court of Ukraine of March 14, 2014, in which the Court found that the resolution of the Parliament of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea  "About the Crimean referendum"  was unconstitutional and therefore void. Pending the final opinion of the Venice Commission on the legitimacy of the referendum in Crimea, which will be announced on March 21-22, the Committee of Ministers has already given a clear political signal that the “referendum” contradicts European democratic norms and principles. 

The Member-States of the Council of Europe have expressed regret over the decision of Russian President Vladimir Putin to sign an agreement on the incorporation of Crimea and Sevastopol into the Russian Federation. In this context, they strongly reiterated the obligation of all Member-States, including the Russian Federation, to comply with the requirements arising from the provisions of the Statute of the Council of Europe and other contractual instruments of international organizations. Specifically, that such obligations include respecting each other's territorial integrity and the settlement of disputes by peaceful means. 

Of Note:  The results of the vote:  42 delegations voted “for”, 2 delegations voted “against” (the Russian Federation and Armenia), one delegation “abstained” (Serbia).  Two delegations did not vote-Bosnia-Hercegovina and Monaco. 

The decision highlighted temporary security measures taken by the European Court of Human Rights on the basis of a claim that Ukraine has filed against the Russian Federation. The Committee of Ministers called on both parties of the conflict to immediately ensure that the recommendations of the Strasbourg court. 

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, the recommendations by the Committee of Ministers are specifically relevant in light of the unprovoked and uncontrolled violence which is being used by military units of the Russian Federation against the Ukrainian military units in Crimea.  We again note that as a result of one of these armed incidents provoked by the Russian side, one soldier of the Armed Forces of Ukraine was killed, another suffered severe injuries. 

In order to prevent such incidents in the future, the Committee of Ministers urged the Russian Federation to start a direct dialogue with the Government of Ukraine and to use relevant international mechanisms for a peaceful and mutually acceptable solution to the current crisis. The national delegations of member-states were united in the fact that in this situation you must avoid actions that could deepen tensions and provoke violence. 

Given the extreme urgency of the events taking place in Ukraine, as at the regional and global level, the national delegations agreed to return to discussion of these events at the next meeting of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe. 


Foreign visits to Ukraine 

On March 22, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the federal Foreign Minister of  Germany Frank- Walter Steinmeier, and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Iceland Braga Sveynsson will visit Ukraine.


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