Since the beginning of April, the situation in eastern Ukraine has been deteriorating constantly. In several eastern towns, armed militants acting professionally and in a synchorized manner have taken possession of the public buildings. The similarity between the modus operandi and that seen in Crimea is striking. (…)
So France firmly and unambiguously condemns these unacceptable attempts by Russia to destabilize Ukraine.
We must halt this confrontational approach and give priority to the path of de-escalation.
The joint declaration adopted in Geneva on 17 April by Ukraine, Russia, the United States and the European Union indicates the path to follow.
It calls on all the parties to refrain from violent actions as well as acts of intimidation and provocation. It provides for the disarmament of illegal armed groups, the evacuation of occupied buildings and public spaces, and an amnesty for those who lay down their weapons, with the exception of those individuals who have blood on their hands. It’s essential for this declaration to be implemented by all the parties without delay and in good faith, in order to enable the Ukrainian state to regain sovereignty over its territory.
The OSCE’s special observation mission is being called on to play an important role in implementing these de-escalation measures. It’s essential that it should be able to act without hindrance. (…)
This is a period of transition: the more time passes, the greater the risk of anarchy and bloody incidents.
This is why we’re calling on the Russian authorities to choose the path of de-escalation, by respecting without delay the commitments made in the Geneva declaration.
Yesterday, along with our EU partners and the United States, we adopted new, targeted sanctions. If the situation were to deteriorate further, we would be forced to step up those sanctions once again. That’s not what we would prefer.
Our goal is to ensure that a free, inclusive and transparent presidential election is held on 25 May; its smooth progress will be guaranteed by the presence of international observers. It would be unacceptable for the activism of certain violent groups to threaten this democratic event. Furthermore, we support a constitutional reform that can guarantee respect for minorities and decentralization. It’s up to the Ukrainians as a whole to decide their future. History and geography will then lead to the inevitable and desirable reconciliation between a democratic, peaceful and independent Ukraine and a Russian Federation that will have given up the dangerous illusions of nationalism.