Mr President, dear Petro, I am very happy to see you here in Brussels today, even though the circumstances are really dramatic, but you are here among friends . Thank you for presenting to the members of the European Council the results of the Minsk talks, and for the information on the latest developments on the ground in eastern Ukraine.
In a short while I will give you the floor so that you can share with us your assessment of the situation.
I have invited you here today not only as an expression of our solidarity with the victims of the aggression - but also to show you that although all member states differ from each other, we stand united. We support you and your country in your efforts to restore peace and to maintain your independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Today we still have hope for a peaceful solution but the real test is the respect of the ceasefire. The first Minsk agreement was not respected. Also therefore we remain cautious until words put down on paper translate into real deeds. Europe will continue to remain united, both in times when there is need for a stronger reaction, and when there is a need for us to send bigger assistance to help rebuild Ukraine. In this context, I am very happy to note this morning's agreement on a solid International Monetary Fund programme.
Also important in this crucial moment is our unity with the United States.
Nothing is simple today. I am hopeful, however, that the incredible determination of Ukrainians, their courage and readiness to sacrifice will set an example to those people who respect freedom, democracy and the nations' right to self determination.
After your statement I will go back to the meeting, where discussions on this subject will continue. I will be able to say more on the outcome of this discussion in my press conference this evening. Petro, the floor is yours.