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Tension in Ukraine must be defused immediately and all acts of violence and aggression must sto

Tensions have been rising in Ukraine over the weekend, with Russian troops entering the Crimean peninsula adjacent to Russia’s Western borders and a number of violent disturbances being seen in other cities. The PES wants to see an immediate de-escalation and calls for calm on all sides.

The situation in Ukraine is extremely worrying”, said PES President Sergei Stanishev today. “Too many lives have been lost already. Not only is Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial unity being threatened, but a continued confrontation could put the lives of millions of people at risk. Ukraine has 46 million citizens that have the right to live in peaceThey have diverse ethnicities and religions – Russian & Ukrainian, JewishBulgarian, and many more - and all deserve the same protections.”

The new Government in Kyiv must be more inclusive”, continued Stanishev, “We condemn the abolition of the new language law which sends the wrong signal to the citizens of Ukraine and adds to fears of division and encourages confrontations.  The rights of all minorities must be respected.”

The PES wants the EU to use all the diplomatic tools necessary to avoid a civil war at its Eastern border. We are concerned that no more innocent victims should suffer due to rising tensions and call for calm, restraint and mutual respect.  The PES would like to see a role for OSCE Observers, and an increase in dialogue whereby all sides strive to find balanced solutions.

We urge all parties involved to show full respect for international agreements, including the UN Charter, the 1997 military basing agreement with Ukraine, the Budapest Memorandum of 1994 and the OSCE Final Act. The Government in Kyiv should do everything possible to be inclusive, and a dialogue with Eastern and Southern interlocutors must be a priority. We call for a balanced solution respecting Ukraine’s territorial integrity.

All concerns Russia has with regards to the security and human rights situation in Ukraine can be addressed through negotiations or international monitoring. The EU should provide immediate financial and technical assistance to Ukraine’s Government, as this will contribute to the stabilization of the region.

The PES will take all necessary measures to help establish a dialogue between different interest groups in Ukraine. A PES delegation visited Ukraine on 10 and 11 February, and we are ready to visit again to provide any assistance possible that would help to defuse the situation.  All efforts must be taken to protect both EU-Ukraine and EU-Russia relations

The European Union’s Foreign Ministers are currently meeting in Brussels for emergency talks on the situation in Ukraine. The EU had imposed sanctions on 20 February on members of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych's regime, who were deemed responsible for deaths and repression in Kiev. Ukraine's Parliament subsequently ousted Yanukovych on February 22.  The new crisis meeting comes after Russian President Putin - with the support of the Russian Parliament's Upper House - decided to deploy troops in the Crimean peninsula.  US Secretary of State John Kerry is travelling to Kyiv today. He will meet on Tuesday with representatives of Ukraine’s new Government, leaders of Ukraine's Parliament and members of civil society.

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