Kyiv, October 17, 2014. The European Union will continue to support the territorial integrity of Ukraine and denounce Russian aggression against the country. This was stated at Ukraine Crisis Media Center by Sandra Kalniete, a European member of parliament from Latvia, and Jaromír Stetina, an EU member of parliament from the Czech Republic. The Euromaidan movement in Ukraine inspired Europeans from across the continent, and the EU must show Ukraine support and solidarity, they noted.
Both EU members of parliament have visited Ukraine several times since February. Stetina was witness to the killings on Maidan at the end of the movement, when snipers targeted protestors. “This left a great impression on me,” he stated. “I would like to thank Ukrainians who showed to the citizens of the European Union what it really means to be European,” added Kalniete. The MPs are currently in Kyiv to show European support for Ukraine, as well as meet with representatives of non-governmental organizations, internally displaced people, and politicians. They will discuss their findings with Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk.
The European politicians stressed that the European parliament strongly stands behind Ukraine, even if a vocal minority of members on both the far-left and far-right have made disparaging remarks about European support for Kyiv. “We simultaneously ratified with Association Agreement with Ukraine notwithstanding the radicals on the left and the right in the parliament,” stated Kalniete. The parliamentarians support the reform agenda in Ukraine, and commented on the necessity of a pro-European coalition to coalesce around clear reform policies following the parliamentary elections on October 26.
Kalienete and Stetina also acknowledged that Russian aggression against Ukraine is still ongoing. “We use this term ceasefire [in eastern Ukraine], but we understand that there is no real ceasefire and that people are dying every day,” said Kalniete. Repression against ethnic Tatars in Crimea by the Russian authorities is also getting more attention in Europe, as is the illegal detention of Ukrainian servicewoman Nadiya Savchenko. “We say to the people that if there is more violence and war there will be more sanctions from the European Union,” stated Kalniete.
The parliamentarians added that the Euromaidan movement is one of three nominees for this year’s Sakharov Prize, which honors those who fight against oppression. Europe will stand behind Ukraine as it continues to take the necessary reforms.