Putin: SCO Declaration Shows Common Views on Ukraine

Putin: SCO Declaration Shows Common Views on Ukraine Putin: SCO Declaration Shows Common Views on Ukraine

Common views of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) countries’ leaders on the situation in Ukraine are reflected in the Dushanbe Declaration, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin told a meeting of SCO countries’ leaders on Friday.

The leaders have discussed the situation in Ukraine at a close-format meeting, he said. Putin stressed that “our approaches on major directions of cooperation have turned out to be identical or similar, and these common views are reflected in the Dushanbe Declaration”.

Against the background of continuing unfriendly actions of the West against Russia, the significance of the SCO as an integration union in the Eurasian space will only be growing, a Chinese expert told ITAR-TASS on Friday.

“Russia is now facing enormous external pressure from the West — both economic and political, and the recent actions of the EU and NATO just confirm this,” deputy head of the Institute of International Relations and Regional Development of East China Normal University Yang Cheng said. “So, it is quite natural that Russia in such a situation gives major attention to the Eurasian vector of its foreign policy,” he said. “Moscow’s allies in the region are the SCO partners,” the expert said. “The SCO summit significance in the conditions of the Ukrainian crisis has certainly grown for Russia,” he added.

 New Sanctions

The European Union has imposed fresh sanctions on Russia, targeting some of its largest companies, over the crisis in Ukraine.

In the new round of sanctions unveiled in its official publication on Friday the EU closed long-term lending for a number of Russian companies including the country’s largest oil producer, Rosneft, and pipeline operator Transneft.

The EU also imposed sanctions on 24 individuals including rebel leaders and senior Russian lawmakers.

 ‘EU Unwilling to See Russia’s

Efforts on Ukraine’

The EU “does not see or is unwilling to see” Russia’s efforts to establish peace in Ukraine, Moscow said in response to the bloc’s new sanctions. Despite Brussels’ “non-constructive” policy, Moscow is committed to helping implement the peace plan.

“We are sorry that the European Union has adopted a new round of sanctions. We have repeatedly expressed our discontent with the previously-imposed sanctions and our disagreement with them. We also considered them illegal,” Putin’s spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said.

The EU decision “is absolutely beyond understanding and explanation,” Peskov added, especially given Russia’s recent efforts to help stop the bloodshed in Ukraine and peacefully resolve the conflict between Kiev and southeastern regions.

Moscow regrets that the EU still “prefers talking the language of sanctions,” rather than to “contribute to the peaceful settlement” of the conflict, “not in words but in deeds.”

“At the same time, it is impossible not to understand that one way or another, European companies will have to pay for those sanctions as well as taxpayers,” Peskov said. “This is actually happening already.”

Dmitry Peskov referred to President Putin’s seven-step peace plan, which he proposed to the conflicting sides two days before Kiev and the Donbass regions reached a truce agreement on September 5.

“Despite the absence of constructivism in Brussels’ position, Russia will continue to do everything in its powers to support the implementation of the existing peace plan, as well as the stabilization of the situation in the south-eastern Ukraine as a whole,” Peskov said.

 Prisoner Exchange

Meanwhile, government and rebel forces early Friday exchanged dozens of prisoners captured during fighting in Ukraine, as part of a cease-fire agreement sealed earlier this month.

The transfer took place in the dark outside the main rebel stronghold of Donetsk under the watch of international observers.

Thirty-six Ukrainian servicemen were released after negotiations and a further 21 soldiers were freed the day before, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said.

Ukrainian forces handed over 31 pro-Russian rebels detained over the course of the five-month conflict.