Ukraine’s parliament (Verkhovna Rada) on Tuesday approved a statement defining Russia as an ‘aggressor state’, which deputies said could pave the way for consequences under international law, and called for more international aid and stronger sanctions on Russia, Interfax-Ukraine reports.
Parliament also voted to define separatist ‘republics’ in eastern Ukraine as ‘terrorist organisations’ and to appeal to the international community for additional non-lethal military aid and stronger sanctions against Russia.
A total of 271 of 289 registered for the vote supported the decision.
The authors of the given legislative initiative are leaders of Batkivschyna parliamentary faction, Yulia Tymoshenko, Oleh Bereziuk from Samopomich, Oleh Liashko from Radical Party faction, Radical Party member Viktor Vovk and independent MP Viktor Baloha.
Earlier European Union leaders asked their foreign ministers to consider an appropriate response to an escalation of fighting in eastern Ukraine, including possible new sanctions against Russia, when the ministers meet in Brussels on January 29.
In a rare joint statement, EU leaders noted ‘evidence of continued and growing support given to the separatists by Russia’ and said that support ‘underlines Russia’s responsibility.’ The statement also urged Russia to condemn separatists’ actions and to implement the September 2014 Minsk agreements, which include a cease-fire deal.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian military spokesman Vladyslav Seleznyov said on Tuesday that nine government soldiers were killed and 29 wounded by fighting in eastern Ukraine during the previous 24 hours.
“The situation remains tense. In the past 24 hours illegal armed groups carried out 120 attacks on government positions,” he told a briefing in Kyiv,
He said that the fighting was the most intense near the strategic town of Debaltseve, located northeast of rebel-held Donetsk.
www.belsat.eu/en, following Interfax, Reuters