President Obama today spoke about Ukraine with his counterparts from France, Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom as well as European Council President Tusk. They reaffirmed their support for a peaceful resolution of the conflict in eastern Ukraine as expressed in the Implementation Plan agreed to on February 12 and the Minsk agreements signed in September 2014. They condemned the attack on Debaltseve by Russia and the separatists it backs that immediately followed and violated the February 12 Minsk Implementation Plan. The leaders called on all parties to cease all military action, cooperate with the OSCE so that its monitors can verify a full pull back of heavy weapons, and complete the exchange of all prisoners. They emphasized their support for the OSCE and the need for its monitors to have full and unfettered access to the entire area of conflict, and they discussed ways to strengthen OSCE monitoring activities. The leaders expressed their hope for the successful and complete implementation of the Minsk agreements and agreed that the easing of current sanctions would be linked to the full implementation of these agreements. They also affirmed their determination to act quickly and in unison to impose significant additional costs, if serious violations of the Minsk agreements occur or if Russian-backed separatists seek to gain new territory. The leaders welcomed the Ukrainian parliament’s passage of an ambitious package of reforms and reiterated their commitment to work alongside international partners to provide Ukraine with the financial assistance it needs to stabilize its economy. They also discussed the continuing violence in Libya and the terrorist threat from ISIL and agreed on the need to consult further on ways to address this threat and support a political resolution of the conflict in Libya.
A photograph of President Obama speaking with the leaders can be found HERE.