President Barroso made separate telephone calls today to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Russian President Vladimir Putin regarding the situation in Ukraine.
In both phone calls, President Barroso expressed the EU’s increasing concern regarding the humanitarian impact of the on-going conflict in eastern Ukraine, especially the civilian casualties. President Barroso called for the respect of international humanitarian law and for humanitarian organisations to be supported and facilitated in their present efforts to increase the assistance to all of the population in need.
Speaking with President Poroshenko, President Barroso emphasised the EU’s readiness to increase its support to the Ukrainian government-led humanitarian response efforts as well as to international humanitarian organisations. The President of the Commission welcomed President's Poroshenko willingness to seek international humanitarian assistance. In this vein President Barroso announced that the European Commission would take this week an emergency Decision on additional humanitarian support as a contribution to the UN-led international response plan.
President Barroso also stressed the importance of the on-going reform process in Ukraine in view of the expected provisional application of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement.
Speaking with President Putin, President Barroso said that the EU would join in international efforts to assist people in need as a result of the conflict. President Barroso expressed concern at the gathering of Russian troops near the Ukrainian border, as well as the continuing flow of arms, equipment and militants from Russian territory, which run counter to efforts towards de-escalating the crisis. President Barroso warned against any unilateral military actions in Ukraine, under any pretext, including humanitarian. President Barroso also appealed on Russia to use its influence to ensure that civilian populations could safely and freely leave areas of conflict controlled by illegal armed groups.
In both phone conversations, President Barroso underlined the EU’s firm stance in upholding Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence and support for the implementation of the agreed peace plan.
Recalling that the EU’s restrictive measures against the Russian Federation were linked to the illegal annexation of Crimea and destabilisation of Ukraine, President Barroso underlined the EU’s regret at Russia’s announcement of measures targeting food and agricultural imports, for which there was no justification, reserving the EU’s right to take action as appropriate.
In this context the President of the Commission and the President of Russia agreed on the need to keep the channels of communication open on matters of relevance, namely on the economic and energy fields, as well as on the overall bilateral relations.
President Barroso offered once again to President Putin the possibility to work together in support of stabilising Ukraine, including through the national dialogue on constitutional reform and decentralisation.
President Barroso also addressed in both phone calls the active role of the Commission in helping Ukraine and the Russian Federation to identify solutions to questions raised in the on-going consultations on the impact of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement including a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area, as well as regarding gas supply in forthcoming energy-related discussions.