European diplomacy continue active work on supporting Ukraine in its struggle against Russian aggression and in Ukraine’s efforts on de-occupation Ukrainian territories, including the Crimea. In such framework French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Catherine Colonna visited Odesa on 26th January, meeting with Ukrainian officials, and later she visited Chisinau where Minister met with President Maia Sandu.

In Odesa, as Colonna wrote in her twitter, due to air raid alert and Russian missile strikes, she “experienced my 1st diplomatic bilateral meeting in a shelter”, and in Moldova French Minister discussed the consequences of Russia’s war in Ukraine in preparations of summit of the European political community in June in Chisinau.

Later Catherine Colonna arrived to Bucharest where the trilateral negotiations were held with Romanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Bogdan Aurescu and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands Wopke B. Hoekstra. Ministers not only visited one of Romanian military bases, discussing the “security of our continent”, but also signed on 27 January Bucharest Declaration on Foreign and Security cooperation between Romania, France and Netherlands.

Declaration contains in its beginning chapter “Support to Ukraine and to the Republic of Moldova” where it points that three participating states stand shoulder to shoulder in condemning Russia’s aggression in Ukraine. Parties stresses that they will step up their support for the people of Ukraine, to help them defend themselves successfully.

France, Netherlands and Romania reiterated in Declaration their support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders, as well as for providing multidimensional assistance to Ukraine, including for building its resilience and long-term reconstruction. They also expressed their strong commitment to supporting the development of a stable and resilient Republic of Moldova, including through the Moldova Support Platform.

In other part of Declaration its parties reaffirmed their allegiance to the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and the promotion of a rules-based international order. They stressed that during the joint Bucharest meeting on 27 January 2023, all three countries reaffirmed their support for the need to ensure accountability for the most serious crimes under international law committed by Russia on the territory of Ukraine.

States pointed in Declaration that they are working on establishing the necessary additional justice mechanisms, like a possible special tribunal. This tribunal, Declaration stresses, is in addition to three states’ support to the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice. These are clear signals of shared values in the multilateral framework, which is of particular importance in challenging times such as these, Declaration stresses.

Regarding the downing of flight MH17, three states in Declaration pointed that they will continue to do everything they can to establish the truth and achieve full accountability and justice for the victims and their next of kin. Declaration parties welcome the proceedings against the Russian Federation at the European Court of Human Rights and the International Civil Aviation Organization.

It is worth mention that in interview given in Bucharest, Minister Catherine Colonna stressed that «we must help Ukraine to reconquer what it must reconquer». Minister Aurescu also wrote that on trilateral consultations parties “also reconfirmed our joint interests at bilateral, EU and global level in challenging times” and “are ready to continue coordinating on security issues towards NATO Vilnius Summit [scheduled on June, 2023], providing multidimensional support for Ukraine”.

Also Minister Wopke Hoekstra stressed in his Twitter that participating states :”are united in our steadfast support for Ukraine and discussed sanctions against Russia, countering circumvention of sanctions, forensic and accountability efforts, and military support to Ukraine. The Netherlands will continue to do what is needed for as long as it takes”.

And Minister Hoekstra held on 30th January, after returning from Bucharest, meeting with ambassadors to the EU’s Political & Security Committee, to the Hague discussed with them the joint accountability efforts on Russian aggression against Ukraine, including forensic missions and development on international justice mechanisms in that area. He also made talk that day with new Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang, discussing Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.

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