On 7 July 2019, President Tusk joined President Volodymyr Zelesnkyy on a visit to Stanytsia Luhanska, a crossing-point to the non-government-controlled areas in eastern Ukraine. The President of the European Council met with Ukrainian soldiers, the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine, humanitarian agencies and local residents.
“The tragedy in eastern Ukraine continues, with disastrous humanitarian consequences for local people trapped by Russia’s war.”
Donald Tusk, President of the European Council
As all the bridges on the Seversky Donets river were destroyed during the conflict, the broken bridge at Stanytsia Luhanska is the only crossing-point in the entire Luhansk region. Going on foot through the steep ramp is the only way thousands of civilians can get to the nearest city every day.
The OSCE mission to Ukraine regularly reports on violations of the ceasefire in the area. The European Council in June called for an urgent resumption of negotiating efforts to implement the Minsk agreements.
The trip came before the 21st EU-Ukraine summit on 8 July 2019 in Kyiv, where leaders reaffirmed the strength of the political and economic ties between the EU and Ukraine. The EU also reaffirmed its support for Ukraine’s’ sovereignty and territorial integrity and the implementation of the Minsk agreements. At the last European Council, EU leaders again decided to extend the EU’s economic sanctions against Russia in the absence of progress.