Kyiv, February 6, 2015 – The Government of the United Kingdom welcomes diplomatic efforts of the German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the President of France François Hollande directed to a peaceful solution of the conflict in eastern Ukraine. On February 5, leaders of the two EU countries conducted a round of consultations with the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko. They have departed to Moscow afterwards to take part in negotiations with the President of Russia Vladimir Putin. Simon Smith, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United Kingdom to Ukraine, told this during the press-briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. “We are most interested in reviving the ceasefire and the peace plan in Donbas, so that Ukraine could focus on its economic development,” Mr. Simon Smith said.
According to the British Ambassador, Russia still did not recognize the fact of its support for pro-Russian insurgent groups in Donetsk and Luhansk regions. The United Kingdom is determined to continue diplomatic pressure until Russian acknowledges its role in the military conflict in eastern Ukraine, and assumes responsibility for the restoration of peace in the region. Mr. Smith noted that the United Kingdom and the European Union may introduce new sanctions if the conflict in eastern Ukraine escalates. “The sanctions policy is not static but a dynamic one. We will implement new sanctions against Russia if it refuses from engaging in a constructive dialogue and shall keep acting aggressively,” British Ambassador said.
Mr. Simon Smith also emphasized the urgency of reforms in Ukraine that have to be pushed through despite the military conflict and bureaucratic hurdles. Particularly, anti-corruption practices and deregulation are crucial for the economic development of the country. “Every unnecessary regulation and increased state interference in the economy is a potential opportunity for corruption. British specialists collaborate with Ukrainian ministries of the economy and finance to deregulate the economy and reduce the levels of corruption,” Mr. Smith said. The United Kingdom also cooperates with the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine in the area of budgetary policy and state procurements. “Corruption in state procurements is the most visible threat to the sovereignty of the state. Ukraine will have more funds after these reforms that it will be able to spend on defense and the modernization of its army,” Mr. Ambassador concluded.