The Foreign Affairs Council of the European Union today strongly condemned the holding of an illegal referendum in Crimea on joining the Russian Federation.
Speaking from Brussels where he represented Ireland at the Council meeting, Minister for European Affairs, Paschal Donohoe T.D. said:
“Today’s meeting agreed the next phase of measures to be adopted to support Ukraine and send a clear message that the EU does not recognise the result of the referendum held in Crimea. A targeted list of individuals who will be subject to asset freezes and travel bans was approved, representing the implementation of phase two of sanctions against Russia. These individuals, of whom there are twenty-one, are considered responsible for undermining the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine.
“The meeting also condemned Russia’s veto of the UN Security Council Draft Resolution on Saturday and, in a bid to further support Ukraine, approved the early signing of the political elements of the Association Agreement, which will be signed on 21 March at the next European Council meeting.
“The decision to temporarily remove customs duties on Ukrainian exports to the EU was also sanctioned. This will further bolster Ukraine and demonstrates a commitment on behalf of the EU to seek ways to economically support Ukraine during this time.”
The Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Eamon Gilmore T.D. welcomed the outcome, saying:
“The EU is resolute in its willingness to support Ukraine’s territorial integrity and efforts to respond to the current crisis in a measured way. A firm focus was placed today on the importance of an inclusive Ukrainian Government undertaking concrete reforms to address economic governance and minority rights’ issues into the future. The EU remains ready to engage in constructive dialogue with all sides and to facilitate dialogue between Russia and Ukraine in a bid to develop EU-Russia relations and bring an end to the current situation.”