03/03/2014 - Foreign Affairs Council (FAC)
EU condemns Russia's actions in Ukraine, calls for dialogue and remains ready for further measures
On 3 March the EU ministers for foreign affairs held an extraordinary meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council on the situation in Ukraine.
The Council has condemned "the clear violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity by acts of aggression by the Russian armed forces as well as the authorisation given by the Federation Council of Russia on 1 March for the use of the Russian armed forces on the territory of Ukraine."
"Without question this is in breach of Russia's international obligations and its commitments," said Catherine Ashton, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.
Call for a peaceful solution
"We are firmly convinced that there needs to be a peaceful solution to this current crisis in full respect of international law. So we call on Russia to immediately withdraw its troops to the areas where they are permanently stationed on the basis of the agreement for the Black Sea Fleet stationed in Ukraine," underlined the High Representative.
The EU remains ready to engage in constructive dialogue with all parties and welcomes a possible OSCE (Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe) fact-finding mission to Ukraine.
Participation in G8 suspended
The EU and its states that are participating in the G8 have decided to suspend for the time being their participation in activities associated with the preparations for the G8 Summit in Sochi in June "until the environment comes back where the G8 is able to have meaningful discussion."
Possible consequences for bilateral EU-Russia relations
"In the absence of de-escalating steps by Russia, the EU shall decide about consequences for bilateral relations between the EU and Russia," stated the Council.
The measures may include suspending bilateral talks on visa matters as well as on the New Agreement. In addition, the Council has decided "to remain permanently seized [of the matter] , in order to be in a position to take rapidly all necessary measures".
Support for Ukraine
The ministers confirmed the EU's readiness to support the country alongside other international institutions, especially the IMF.
The EU and its members "will lend their full support to an international assistance package to address the urgent needs of Ukraine, based on a clear commitment to reforms." The European Commission has already begun a fact-finding mission to Kyiv, in parallel to the IMF mission, for this purpose.
The EU reconfirmed its offer of the Association Agreement, including a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area.
The conclusions also underline the need for fair and constitutional reform in Ukraine and for free, fair and transparent presidential elections with OSCE-ODIHR observation.
Extraordinary European Council meeting
President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy has called for an extraordinary meeting of EU leaders to be held on 6 March 2014 to discuss the latest developments in Ukraine and how to facilitate the de-escalation of the situation.
Council conclusions on Ukraine