Escalating situation to dominate talks as EU leaders meet in Brussels

Summit will repeat demands for ‘sustainable political solution’ to Ukraine war

Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko, speaking yesterday in Kiev after the army lost a key town to separatists, said the situation in the conflict zone in the east was “extraordinarily difficult . . . but controllable”.

Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko, speaking yesterday in Kiev after the army lost a key town to separatists, said the situation in the conflict zone in the east was “extraordinarily difficult . . . but controllable”.

Fri, Aug 29, 2014, 01:00

The escalating situation in Ukraine is likely to dominate a summit tomorrow in Brussels at which EU leaders are to settle the appointment of a successor to outgoing European Council president Herman Van Rompuy.

A draft summit communique, prepared before Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko declared Russian troops had entered his country, condemned the increasingly intense conflict in eastern Ukraine.

‘Inflows of fighters’

The draft said European leaders were “concerned by the reported increasing inflows of fighters and weapons from the territory of the Russian Federation into eastern Ukraine and the reported participation of Russian armed forces in operations on Ukrainian soil”.

The draft suggests the leaders will reiterate demands for a “sustainable political solution” based on respect for Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence.

According to the draft, the first step towards implementation of Mr Poroshenko’s peace plan should be a mutually agreed and viable ceasefire, the re-establishment of Ukrainian control over its border and an immediate halt to the flow of arms, material and military personnel from the Russian Federation into Ukraine.

On the situation in Iraq and Syria, the draft condemned indiscriminate killings and human rights violations by Islamic State insurgents, formerly known as Isis, and welcomed efforts by the US to counter the threat . “The European Council supports the decision by individual member states to provide military material to Iraq,” said the draft. “Governments would be asked to consider stepping up sanctions to deny Islamic State the benefits of illicit oil sales or sales of other resources on international markets.”

Stem the flow

Determined action was required to stem the flow of foreign fighters, the draft said.

On Gaza the draft welcomed the ceasefire agreed this week but said European leaders remained deeply concerned about the “disastrous humanitarian situation”.

The communique urged Israel and the Palestinians to continue negotiations leading to a fundamental improvement of the living conditions for the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip.

This could be achieved both by lifting the Gaza closure regime and ending the threat to Israel posed by Hamas and other militant groups in Gaza.