8 February 2018, Consultations between Political Directors of Slovakia and Ukraine, Kiev

RESTREINT UE/EU RESTRICTED FM BRA COREU TO ALL COREU NORMAL CFSP/BRA/0005/18 210218 1509Z ACRONYM COEST COPOL COSCE SUBJECT COEST COPOL COSCE – Consultations between Political Directors of Slovakia and Ukraine, Kiev, 8 February 2018 TEXT
Subject: COPOL COEST COSCE – Consultations between Political Directors of Slovakia and Ukraine, Kiev, 8 February 2018

Slovakia wishes to inform its partners about consultations between Political Director of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic Mr Marian Jakubocy, and Deputy Foreign Minister of Ukraine Mr Vasyl Bodnar and Political Director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Oleksii Makeiev which took place in Kiev on 8 February 2018. A wide range of issues were covered during the consultations, in particular EU-UA relations, situation in Donbass and Crimea, UA-NATO relations and OSCE activities in UA. Bilateral SK-UA relations, including the new Education Law were addressed as well.

Speaking of the situation in EU-UA relations, the UA side confirmed its determination to become part of the “4 Unions” (Energy Union, Digital Single Market, Customs Union and the Schengen area).

With regard to the draft law on Specialized Anti-Corruption Court, the UA side informed the draft law passed through the first reading in the Parliament while MPs were encouraged by the President to adopt it in the coming period. No reference was made by UA on negative views/possible amendments to the law. UA side advised to wait with the FAC discussion on Ukraine following the presidential elections in RU.

According to UA, joint EU statement condemning illegal annexation of Crimea (annexation anniversary) would be an appropriate and strong signal with deterrent effect on RU in terms of further steps against international law. At the same time, UA currently considers that it might not recognize presidential elections in RU due to voting in Crimea. UA keeps advising to its partners not to be too hasty with congratulating Putin on his re-election. The HRVP Mogherini’s planned visit to UA is seen as a positive signal by UA side.

Referring to the situation in Donbass and Crimea, UA Political Director assessed the meeting between Volker and Surkov in December 2017 as a “disaster” while the January meeting in Dubai was seen as a “partial success”.

According to Makeiev, RU is under pressure from the West. He added that the threat of sanctions is painful for Moscow despite it does not want to admit it.

UA does not consider the Normandy format as a break-through as Lavrov does not allegedly dispose of powers when it comes to conflict in UA (Putin is the only decisive element here). UA appreciates the US role that gives an impulse to the peace process while Moscow is seeking to block it.

According to PD Makeiev, Moscow’s intention is to use possible UN peacekeeping mission in order to divide the UA territory, make the UA-RU contact line a new UA-RU border and thus to make the OSCE SMM’s work even more complicated.

The UN mission (if launched) must lead to renewal of UA territorial integrity, not to freeze the conflict. PD Makeiev is of the opinion that the EU is naive to believe that RU President’s approach would be changed after elections.

UA emphasized necessity to maintain the sanctions. The more RU is hit by sanctions, the more will is generated to solve the conflict. There is only RU military in Donbas, no separatists are there.

UA PD Makeiev sees Crimea as “hot-zone” where nuclear warheads might have already been deployed. Crimea has become an increasingly militarized territory with changes in the composition of the population (at the expense of Crimean Tatars).

On UA-NATO relations, UA would appreciate if the UA-NATO Council takes place ahead of the NATO Summit while not to have big expectations in this regard.

The OSCE activities in UA were covered mostly in the context of the upcoming SK OSCE Chairmanship. Territorial integrity and return of Crimea continue to be the core issues for UA. UA wants to closely liaise with SK during its Chairmanship. UA acknowledges good relations/cooperation with the OSCE SMM. It reiterated that it is not UA that violates the Minsk Agreements, UA armed forces carry out only retaliatory shooting. Budgetary issues related to the OSCE SMM activities remain crucial according to UA; budget restraints cannot limit monitoring and reduce SMM’s effectiveness. According to UA, SMM extension of mandate (Head of SMM and Deputy head of SMM) will be challenging, UA is ready to support continuation of the current mandates.

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