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Ukraine (Q&A - Excerpt from the daily press briefing - June 30, 2014)

Q : The UNHCR estimates that there are 54,000 internally displaced persons and that 11,000 people have left eastern Ukraine for Russia, even though - again according to the UNHCR - the vast majority of these 110,000 individuals have not formally requested UN refugee status. Does the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs agree with these figures and did Laurent Fabius have an opportunity to ask John Kerry why he didn’t acknowledge the figure of 110,000 refugees during his press briefing on June 27?

A : France is concerned at the humanitarian situation in Ukraine which is affecting more civilians every day.

According to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, which is responsible for determining the status of people who have left their country, 54,000 people are reportedly currently displaced within Ukraine, notably from Crimea and eastern regions of the country. On the other hand, 110,000 have reportedly crossed the border into Russia. 9,600 of them have reportedly applied for asylum in Russia.

It’s not our responsibility to confirm these figures. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, which derives its mandate from the 1951 Refugee Convention, takes sole responsibility for determining the status of these individuals.

Q : What are France’s arguments in favor of continuing the truce in Ukraine, while terrorists are launching attacks against the army and, with the support of Russia, are continuing to torture people and take them hostage?

A : France wants to see the stabilization of Ukraine and encourages all initiatives in support of a lasting ceasefire.

During his telephone conversation yesterday with Chancellor Merkel and Presidents Putin and Poroshenko, President Hollande stressed the importance of concrete progress toward stabilizing the security situation on the ground, the extension of the ceasefire and the implementation of the peace plan presented by the Ukrainian authorities.

President Hollande and Chancellor Merkel clearly highlighted the expectations expressed by the European Council on June 27.

President Hollande and Chancellor Merkel notably encouraged the Ukrainian and Russian presidents to work on implementing a verification mechanism, monitored by the OSCE, for the ceasefire and for the effective control of the border, on the return to the Ukrainian authorities of the three border checkpoints taken by the separatists, on the launch of negotiations on the implementation of President Poroshenko’s peace plan, as well as the release of hostages.


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All rights reserved - French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development - 2014