Ukraine – Statements by Laurent Fabius, following the Foreign Affairs Council (April 14, 2014)
I spoke about Ukraine on the telephone to the Ukrainian Prime Minister, Mr Yatsenyuk, yesterday and today, to the Russian Foreign Minister, Mr Lavrov, this morning, and also to Mr Kerry and Mr Steinmeier. And the French President, for his part, had a discussion with the British Prime Minister, and a conversation with the United States President is planned.
We’ve seen – and we must go on the basis of the evidence – that actions of great violence are being organized in south-eastern Ukraine. We condemn all this violence, and in particular it seems clear that Russia bears some responsibility for this violence.
So we must act; that’s what we’ve started doing today. On the one hand, there’s been an economic decision enabling us to lend additional support to Ukraine. And as I speak, we’re considering an extension of the list of people subject to sanctions. At the same time, we want to try to achieve a political solution of de-escalation. That’s why a meeting in Geneva is planned on Thursday; Europe, Ukraine, Russia and the United States will take part in it. We’d very much like the underlying issues to be raised there. And, if necessary, there may be a meeting next week at European level of the heads of state and government, who may adopt new sanctions.
The aim is both to show firmness and to keep dialogue open, and that’s exactly the aim – it’s France’s position and it’s Europe’s position: to step up the pressure without making dialogue impossible, and that’s where diplomacy comes in.