A high-level group of EU officials will visit Ukrainian regions adjacent to the Azov Sea on 27 January - 2 February.
The main objective of this high-level EU mission is to assess the economic, social and political situation in the region, which has been severely affected by the Russian inspection regime in the Azov Sea, particularly after the escalation of 25 November 2018 in the Kerch Strait and the Azov Sea.
The European Union, notably EU leaders at the European Council meeting in December, has consistently and repeatedly stressed that Russia must immediately release all illegally-detained Ukrainian seamen, return the seized vessels, and ensure the free passage of all ships through the Kerch Strait.
The officials will first meet with the Ukrainian authorities and other stakeholders in Kyiv. In-depth discussions will then take place in Mariupol, Berdyansk, Melitopol, and the surrounding areas with local and regional administrations and councils, civil society representatives, members of the business community, and education institutions.
The visit, building on the results of coordination meetings with Member States and other international partners organised by the European Commission in Brussels at the end of 2018, takes place amid a number of additional high-level missions from EU Member States.
Based on the findings of this mission, the EU will assess how to intensify support for the Azov Sea region, including building on already ongoing programmes and in cooperation with European financial institutions.
The high-level delegation will be led by Mr Thomas Mayr-Harting, Managing Director for Europe and Central Asia in the European External Action Service, and Mr Peter Wagner, Director of the European Commission’s Support Group for Ukraine, and comprise representatives from several other European Commission departments.
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