The mass issuance of Russian passports to Ukrainian citizens living in the occupied areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions contradicts the goals of the Minsk agreements and hinders the future process of reintegration of these territories.

This is underscored in the statement of the European Union on Russia‘s aggression against Ukraine and the illegal occupation of Crimea made during a meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council in Vienna.

“We condemn the mass expedited issuance of Russian passports to Ukrainian citizens in a simplified and selective manner, both on the illegally annexed Crimean peninsula and in areas controlled by Russian-backed armed groups. Such measures further violate Ukraine’s sovereignty, run counter to the goals of the Minsk agreements, and hinder the future reintegration process,” reads the statement.

The EU also stated that the Minsk Protocol signed by the Russian Federation “clearly states that the Trilateral Contact Group (TCG) consists of representatives of Ukraine, the Russian Federation, and the OSCE.”

“We strongly reject Russia’s narrative, in which it presents itself as the mediator of the so-called internal Ukrainian conflict. We call on Russia, as a party to the conflict, to take a constructive part in the discussions within the Normandy format and the TCG and to fully implement the Minsk agreements,” the EU stated.

The other day, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) adopted a resolution on the cessation of enforced disappearances in the territory of the Council of Europe member states.

According to Maria Mezentseva, head of the Ukrainian delegation to the Assembly, Ukraine made sure that the resolution includes a clause on enforced disappearances in Crimea and Donbas.

The EU urged stopping the persecution of Crimean Tatars on the peninsula occupied by Russia.

“Since the beginning of the occupation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol (Ukraine), 43 cases of enforced disappearances in Crimea have been documented. Of the 43 victims of enforced disappearances, 11 (all men) remain missing, and one is in custody,” Mezentseva said.

According to human rights activists, 479 people have gone missing in the occupied territory of Donbas, 723 people in the government-controlled area, 329 people in the non-government-controlled territory, and 31 people during the fighting.

One of the endorsed amendments of the Ukrainian delegation concerns the call on the Council of Europe member states to impose sanctions against government agencies, state-controlled groups, and persons involved in cases of enforced disappearances in the territory of the Council of Europe member states.

Bohdan Marusyak

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