Upon signing the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU on June 27 in Brussels, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko stated: “What a great day! Maybe, the most important day for my country after Independence Day. A moment of both historical and future importance. It shows how dramatically things can change in a short time. “

In addition, he said that he would sign the Association Agreement with the same pen which mentioned EU-Ukraine Associate Agreement Vilnius 29 November. This was the same pen that
was supposed to be used on 29 November, 2013, when Lithuania held the Presidency of the Council of Europe, the first of the three Baltic countries to assume this role. But as President Poroshenko put it, “it didn’t happen then But the pen is the same demonstrating historical events are unavoidable.” The President made sure that Crimea was included in his statement at the signing ceremony, too. As he stated, “All Ukraine, including Crimea, is starting to be a member of the Association Agreement with the EU.”

At the same ceremony on June 27, it was the President of the European Commission, Portuguese Jose Manuel Durao Barroso, who stated the following: “Today we are signing Association Agreements between the European Union and three important European countries themselves, for the EU, and for the whole of Europe. For the EU, it is a solemn commitment to support Georgia, the Republic of Moldova, and Ukraine, each step of the way, along the road of transforming their countries Into stable, prosperous democracies.”

Inspite of these positive developments concerning the European Union’s Associate Agreement with Ukraine, the UN Secretary-General expressed concern over the deteriorating situation in Eastern Ukraine where sporadic fighting is still going on. And although UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed recent measures towards de-escalation of hostilities, including consultations among all sides and the extension of the reciprocal cease fire for a period of three days, the UN Chief remained deeply concerned over the situation in Eastern Ukraine.

A few days earlier on June 23 before the Associate Agreement was signed, EU High Representative Catherine Ashton at the Foreign Affairs Council in Luxembourg began discussions with Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Pavlo Klimkin. She stated that it was very important to support what President Poroshenko was trying to do. As Catherine Ashton said, “calm and peace is essential for the future of the country, not just for the obvious reasons of preventing people from being killed or injured, but also for the country to build and go foreward.”

Permanent Representative of Ukraine  addresses press at   the Security Council Stakeout
In a statement made to the UN Security Council on June 24. Taye-Brook Zerihoun, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs (Ukraine), referred to a report that Ambassador Yuriy Sergeyev, Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the United Nations in New York presented to the UN Secretary Ban-Ki-moon on June 20. UN Photo/Devra Berkowitz

” It was an official copy of President Poroshenko’s peace plan”, Taye-Brook Zerihun explained. It included de-escalatory measures such as amnesty for those who did not participate in ‘serious crimes’: disarmament, decentralization of power and early local and parliamentary elections, and a program for creation of jobs In the region. UN Ambassador Sergeyev has given frequent press briefings and stakeouts following Security Council meetings on the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.

Back on June 21, the UN Secretary-General spoke with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and praised his peace plan. Ban Ki-moon stated that he hoped that President Poroshenko’s peace plan would gain momentum and reduce violence and tensions in Eastern Ukraine In addition, he reiterated the United Nations commitment to help resolve the crisis in this region, and discussed the humanitarian situation and displaced persons.

On other occasions, the UN Secretary-General stated that he “supported the newly-elected Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and the people of Ukraine and stood in solidarity with
them during this difficult time, and that once again emphasized that everyone must do their part to bring Ukraine back from the brink and ensure its unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity.” He has also commented on the continuing violence in eastern Ukraine which he stated was characterized by a growing loss of life and “a deteriorating humanitarian situation.”

UN High Commissioner of Human Rights, Navi Pillay. UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferre
UN High Commissioner of Human Rights, Navi Pillay. UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferre

Making a valuable contribution to the free flow of accurate, factual information on the human rights situation in Ukraine are the three reports published by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, under UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, the work of Ivan Simonovic, and the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine (HRMMU) The latest 58-page report covers the period from 7 May to 7 June, and is the third to be produced by the 34-strong UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission.

UN High Commissioner Navi Pillay stated that armed separatists have instilled a climate of intimidation and fear in eastern Ukraine , and she urged that “armed groups put down their weapons, end the violence, and begin the process of long-term reconciliation.” In addition to the breakdown of law and order by armed groups in the country’s east, she said there was “increasing evidence of abductions, detentions, torture, and killings – as well as worrying trends in Crimea. “