On a working visit to London, Vice Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration of Ukraine Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze met with Minister of State for Europe and the Americas Sir Alan Duncan.
The parties discussed the sanctions against Russia. The Vice Prime Minister thanked the British Government for the clear position on Ukraine and the continuation of sanctions against the aggressor. In a separate statement, she emphasized the effectiveness of financial sanctions, which complicate Russia's access to Western markets.
Speaking about the situation in eastern Ukraine, Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze noted that Russia continues to block the Normandy format talks, to jeopardize the Minsk process. There is still no ceasefire in Donbas, and there is no progress on the issue of the exchange of prisoners. It is impossible to carry out the full-fledged activity of the OSCE special monitoring mission in Donbas due to Russia's position. Observers do not have access to all occupied territories. Moscow continues to block the peace process.
"I hope the British Government, as a key contributor to the OSCE CMM, will continue to make every effort to ensure the effective operation of the Mission in Donbas. We also count on your support in the UN Security Council on the deployment of a full-fledged peacekeeping mission that would have unimpeded access throughout the territory, including the border. We stand ready to work together in order to make deployment of a mission a reality", Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze stressed.
She thanked Sir Alan Duncan for joining of the United Kingdom to the U.S. 'Crimea Declaration' and urged to bolster its influence on Russia concerning the release of Ukrainian political prisoners held in the Russian Federation. Alan Duncan has supported the need for increased international efforts to free the Kremlin's prisoners.
The sides also touched on the issue of Ukraine's cooperation with the North Atlantic Alliance. The Vice Prime Minister stressed that this year's NATO Summit confirmed the prospect of Ukraine becoming an equal member of the Alliance, and Ukraine, in turn, has begun the process of amending the Constitution, which will enshrine membership of NATO and the EU as a strategic course of Ukraine.
The Vice Prime Minister thanked Great Britain for its support at the Summit and for helping to strengthen Ukraine's defense capabilities, in particular in the areas of cybersecurity, strategic communications, and military training.
Moreover, Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze raised the question of simplifying and improving the procedure for obtaining UK visas for Ukrainian citizens. "There are problems with the issuance of British visas for Ukrainians," she said, stressing that the share of visa refusals is to the tune of 14% and the delay in issuing British visas are not in line with the level of cooperation between the two countries.
The Minister of State for Europe and the Americas expressed readiness to appeal to his colleagues responsible for the visa issue regarding the improvement of visa procedures for Ukrainians.
The British Minister noted that Russia's threat is a world-spanning phenomenon, thus there exists a need to work together to preserve the Western unity in countering hybrid attacks. The British Government is conducting an active dialogue with its partners to raise awareness of Russia's threat to the world order based on international law.
He emphasized that, while Britain's main focus now is on negotiations with the EU on the Brexit, London is aware of the importance of supporting Ukraine and its strategic approach in dealing with it.
Speaking about the prospects for strengthening trade and economic cooperation between the two countries, the Vice Prime Minister praised the decision of the British Government to incorporate the future trade agreement between the UK and Ukraine in its priorities for the period of 2018-2019. "We are keen on shortly and successfully wrapping up these talks", Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze underscored.