President of European Council calls on Russia to ensure full access of OSCE SMM to uncontrolled territories
Russia must ensure full access of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to all territories of Ukraine that are not controlled by the government, and return to the Joint Control and Coordination Center (JCCC), President of the European Council Charles Michel said during his visit to Ukraine.
"We expect Russia to provide full access to the OSCE SMM to all territories of Ukraine that are not controlled by the government. The COVID-19 pandemic should not be used as an excuse to further separation of these regions from Ukraine. We also urge Russia to return to the Joint Control and Coordination Center," Michel said at a press conference with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Luhansk region on Tuesday.
The President of the European Council said that the full implementation of the Minsk Agreements is a path to peace and welcomed important steps that Ukraine has taken in this regard under the leadership of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
"A complete ceasefire, more checkpoints and further demining will improve the lives of people on both sides of the contact line, and the EU is ready to support these efforts. Unfortunately, Russia has not demonstrated the same positive steps that Ukraine has taken to implement the Minsk agreements. That is why our economic sanctions against Russia will remain in place. Russia is a part of this conflict, not a mediator," Michel said.
He said that in 2021, the war continues on the European continent, and this is a "shameful reality," people continue to die in this conflict and live in extremely difficult circumstances.
"I wanted to come here to once again emphasize how unacceptable this situation is and to meet with those who are doing their job in extremely difficult circumstances. And I also wanted to reiterate the EU's unwavering support for the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. We provide strong support in all possible ways to efforts in the Normandy format and the Trilateral Contact Group to bring peace to the people of Donbas," Michel said.