Mogherini: Russia Will Be Involved in EU-Ukraine Association Treaty; Italian Diplomatic Mission in Kiev-Moscow Declares Breakthrough, at Least on Paper
July 13, 2014 • 10:02AM

As Italy assumes the rotating presidency of the EU Council, Italian Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini started her diplomatic mission to Kiev and Moscow. Before leaving Kiev for Moscow, "Minister Mogherini announced that on Friday 11 July, Ukraine, the European Union and Russia would begin negotiations on implementing the Ukraine-EU Association Agreement, another achievement within the context of Italian and European diplomatic efforts," the Italian foreign minister reported in English on the Foreign Ministry website.

Mogherini met in Moscow with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and with President Vladimir Putin in Moscow, whom she thanked for seeing her, despite the usual protocol not calling for a head of state to receive a visiting foreign minister. After meeting for an hour and a quarter with Putin, Mogherini said, "Russia emerged totally willing to work toward 'an immediate bilateral and unconditional ceasefire'" in Ukraine. She will now speak again with the Kiev authorities. "It is a hard job, but I acknowledged that on both sides there is the willingness to find 'a positive starting point.'"

The report on her Foreign Ministry website, before her meetings in Moscow, says that "Italy's message to Kiev and Moscow is the same: use every possible diplomatic instrument within Ukraine and the region to achieve a 'bilateral ceasefire,' effect border controls, disarm the east, release all hostages and allow freedom of the press in the east. At the same time, facilitate implementation of the EU-Ukraine association agreement and support reforms in Ukraine, above all the reform of the Constitution. It was Minister Federica Mogherini who carried the message in two days of talks with Ukraine leaders, and who will meet in Moscow with President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday [July 9]. Initial results from Kiev included announcements from Foreign Minister Pavel Klimkim signalling that Ukraine was ready for a bilateral ceasefire, and from President Petro Poroshenko expressing the same willingness. Both meetings in separate moments with the head of Italian diplomacy on the first Italian EU Presidency mission."

The Kremlin reported that Mogherini expressed hope that Putin will attend a Europe-Asia Forum meeting, planned for Milan next October.