BRUSSELS, August 27. /TASS/. The leaders of the European Union (EU) will discuss implementation of the Minsk agreements with Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko who will pay an official visit to Brussels today.
The European Commission (EC) said at a briefing on Wednesday that EC President Jean-Claude Juncker will meet with Poroshenko. EU is concerned with the implementation of the Minsk agreements, and Juncker expects explanations from the Ukrainian president, EC said adding that it maintains consistent contacts with the Russian authorities on this matter.
It is expected that Poroshenko will also meet with European Council President Donald Tusk. A source in European diplomatic circles told TASS that EU leaders will reiterate at the meeting with Poroshenko the importance of observing the Minsk agreements by all sides of the conflict. They will also urge Kiev to implement the political part of the agreements, including the issue of decentralization.
"During Thursday’s meetings, [European Commission] President Juncker and (European Council) President Tusk will stress the importance of implementing the Minsk accords in the sphere of observing ceasefire in Ukraine’s east and of political reforms, including introducing necessary amendments to the country’s constitution, and granting special status to the regions in Ukraine’s east," the source explained.
He added that European leaders expect to hear Poroshenko’s assessment of the situation in the country’s east. The second "key topic on the agenda" will be the situation in the energy sphere and the process of filling Ukraine’s underground storages with gas, he noted. In order to secure interrupted supply to Europe, there should be no less than 19 billion cubic meters of gas in Ukraine’s storages by the start of the heating season. As of August 23, there are slightly more than 14 billion cubic meters of gas in Ukraine’s underground storages, according to Gas Infrastructure Europe (GSE).
Despite the fact the EC representative do not confirm that the energy issue will be on the agenda, Poroshenko announced this a week ago. "A very important part will be energy talks so that we can secure reverse supply of European gas and ensure gas transit to fulfill our duties and provide energy to Europe," the Ukrainian president said.
Poroshenko’s visit to Brussels will take place a week before an informal meeting of EU foreign ministers on September 4-5 in Luxembourg, where they will discuss, among other things, the situation in Ukraine. However, the issue of sanctions against Russia is not on the agenda for the upcoming meeting.
Ceasefire is envisaged by the Minsk agreements on the settlements of the situation in Ukraine. The Minsk accords were signed on February 12, after negotiations in the so-called "Normandy format" in the Belarusian capital Minsk, bringing together Russian President Vladimir Putin, French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko.
The Minsk accords also envisage weaponry withdrawal, prisoner exchange, local elections in Donbass, constitutional reform in Ukraine and establishing working sub-groups on security, political, economy and humanitarian components of the Minsk accords.
The Ukrainian forces and the self-defense forces of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk republics have repeatedly accused each other of violating ceasefire and other points of the Minsk agreements.