Fianna Fáil Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs, Brendan Smith TD has welcomed the latest ceasefire agreed in Minsk, Ukraine following intensive negotiations. However, Deputy Smith has called on the EU now to act as a guarantor of the ceasefire and ensure that all sides live up to their commitments. Ukraine has suffered a loss of over 5,400 people since the conflict begun and the war has had a devastating humanitarian impact in eastern Ukraine.
Deputy Smith stated: “I welcome the ceasefire announced today. The huge loss of life and the humanitarian disaster which has been created by this conflict is greatly regrettable. The EU must now ensure that this ceasefire holds and act as a guarantor to the commitments made within it. I find it unfortunate that in this instance the EU took a background role while intergovernmental negotiations were led by France and Germany. This seems odd given the existence of the EEAS and the Vice President of the European Commission and High Representative for Foreign Affairs, a position which was created to represent the EU abroad.
“Over the past 12 months we have witnessed an increasingly aggressive policy towards Europe by Russia with military flights disrupting European commercial air traffic. The actions of Russian military aircraft in Denmark, Sweden and indeed the UK and Ireland can only be described as intimidating and bullying actions which should not be tolerated. The inability of the EU to respond in one voice and a comprehensive manner is incredible. We now have a situation where the Russian military can play war games within our air space with no consequences or even a condemnation from the EU. I hope the latest agreement will result in an end to these unacceptable practices by Russia.”