Such assurance was given by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen at the 23rd Ukraine-European Union summit that was held in Kyiv on October 12. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine and European Council President Charles Michel attended the summit.

Ukraine and the European Union called on Russia to acknowledge its responsibility for the ongoing armed conflict in Donbas, eastern Ukraine, to help end hostilities and begin implementing the Minsk Protocol (Agreements).

After the summit, the joint statement was issued and approved by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, European Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

The statement in particular reads, “We condemn the violation of the ceasefire by Russia-backed armed formations and call on Russia to fully assume its responsibility in this regard and to use its considerable influence over the armed formations it backs, to re-establish a comprehensive ceasefire, to meet the Minsk commitments in full, and to ensure free and unhindered access of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to the non-government-controlled areas of Ukraine, including the areas along the Ukrainian-Russian State border, in accordance with its mandate.”

The parties to the joint statement spelled out their regret regarding “Russia’s decision not to agree to the extension of the mandate of the OSCE Border Observation Mission at two checkpoints of the Russian-Ukrainian border (Gukovo and Donetsk), which contradicts the spirit of the Minsk agreements and does not contribute to the peaceful resolution of the conflict in eastern Ukraine.”

Besides, Russia was called upon to withdraw its troops and military equipment from the eastern border of Ukraine and the Crimean peninsula.

“We strongly urge Russia to meet its commitments under the Vienna Document, and to provide more transparency and to credibly explain the deployment of military forces and equipment in these areas,” said the joint statement.

The document stressed the decision of the European Union to extend its economic sanctions against the Russian Federation and the duration of the sanctions remains clearly linked to the full implementation of the Minsk agreements.

The participants in the Ukraine-EU summit meeting reiterated their “condemnation of Russia’s continuing measures encouraging Ukrainian citizens in the areas currently not under the control of the Government to apply for Russian citizenship in a simplified manner as well as issuing of Russian passports to Ukrainian citizens, in contradiction to the Minsk agreements.”

At the summit, Ukraine and the European Union signed an agreement on “open sky”. What does it mean? The agreement pursues several goals: to give equal rights to Ukrainian and European aviation companies, to lift monopoly on certain routes and to promote the opening of new routes between Ukrainian and European cities, the measure that will considerably reduce ticket prices.

The European Union announced its decision to give Ukraine financial assistance and reaffirmed the disbursement of the second tranche in the amount of EUR 600 million of macroeconomic aid.

The participants in the summit underlined the special importance of the much-needed reforms in the sphere of the judicial system, particularly reforms of the Constitutional Court and the Security Service of Ukraine.

They noted in the joint statement, “We recognised the substantial progress made by Ukraine in its reform process and agreed on the need to further enhance these efforts. We welcomed the historic opening of the agricultural land market in Ukraine. We reconfirmed that comprehensive and consistent implementation of judicial reforms remains vital for strengthening Ukraine’s resilience and its future success.”

The European Union welcomed Ukraine’s efforts in closing the space for corrupt practices “and its commitment to fight the influence of vested interests (“de-oligarchisation”) … and encouraged further steps by Ukraine in this regard.”

Ukraine and the EU agreed to address all aspects of the gas problem involving the transportation of natural gas to Europe via Ukraine. According to Ursula von der Leyen, the current situation at the gas market was one the topics of discussion at the summit meeting.

The joint press conference was held following the Ukraine-EU summit in Kyiv on Tuesday, October 12.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said, “I understand your concern over gas deliveries. This is a question of not this winter only but a question of the future as well. The task of the commission is to consider together with Ukraine all scenarios.”

The high-profile European official said that the bloc plans to use widely the Ukrainian gas transportation infrastructure. Ursula von der Leyen mentioned the plans to study the question of using the Ukrainian underground gas storage facilities to the full capacity.

For his part, European Council President Charles Michel noted, “The European Union remains a close friend of Ukraine. And today’s summit hosted by the European Union and Ukraine deepens our partnership.”

The newspaper Voice of Ukraine