Ukraine’s military reported Tuesday pro-Russia separatist rebels fired rockets on a government-held town in eastern Ukraine, in what appeared to be the latest violation of a shaky ceasefire. The news came just hours after the Ukrainian government and the European Union held their first formal summit in almost a year.
Speaking at an investors’ conference in Kyiv that followed the talks, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko urged Western nations to remain united behind Ukraine.
“We are still under the threat of war. That is a reality. Every single moment the war can be started. But we are set to make a breakthrough. There is no excuse for hesitation, or reluctance or retreat,” said Poroshenko.
The European Union has promised humanitarian and other support for Ukraine. That includes $2 billion in financial assistance, along with another $77 million to help clean up the area around the Chernobyl nuclear power plant.
But the European Union has not responded to Ukraine’s call to deploy peacekeepers in the eastern part of the country. At the Kyiv summit, European Council President Donald Tusk said that for now, Brussels will only send a civilian mission to assess the security needs in the area.
The EU is also pushing Ukraine’s government to speed up reforms. Kyiv has qualified to receive billions of dollars in international credit in return for cutting spending, increasing decentralization and cracking down on corruption.
Jean-Claude Juncker, who currently heads the European Commission, the EU executive arm, said more work is needed.
“Reform must continue. It must be credible. It must be swift, it must be sustained. You keep reforming and we keep supporting. That is the contract we make with you,” said Juncker.
Ukraine last year signed an association agreement with the European Union which lays out a political and economic relationship with the 28-member block. Poroshenko says he believes his country will be able to meet EU membership conditions within five years.