European Parliament adopts resolution criticizing Russia and supporting Ukraine
The European Parliament has called for the strengthening of the unity of the EU position towards Russia, called on the EU to rethink relations with Russia, abandon the concept of a strategic partnership and find a new coordinated approach to this issue, Interfax Ukraine informs.
A resolution "On the situation in Ukraine and the state of play of EU-Russia relations," which sets out these theses, was adopted at a plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Thursday.
The European Parliament called on the EU and its member states not to lift sanctions imposed against Russia if Moscow does not fulfill the set conditions to de-escalate the situation in Ukraine, and be prepared to introduce new restrictive measures, in particular, consider excluding Russia from civil nuclear cooperation and the Swift international payment system.
According to the resolution, any sanctions should be designed in a way that would not allow Kremlin-linked companies to circumvent them. MEPs called on the EU to closely monitor such forms of economic cooperation as equity swaps and joint ventures.
The European Parliament also welcomed NATO's renewed pledge to prioritize collective security and the commitment to Article 5 of the Washington Treaty and the decisions at the Newport NATO Summit to increase the security level of the eastern allies.
The European Parliament called on the EU to consider gas storage, interconnectors and flow-back facilities as strategic assets, and therefore regulate the share of third-party business contracting parties in those crucial sectors.
It also called on the member states to cancel planned agreements with Russia in the energy sector, including the South Stream gas pipeline.
According to MEPs, it is necessary to radically enhance the EU's energy security, independence and resilience to external pressure, and build a fully functioning free gas market in Europe.
MEPS also welcomed the decision by the French government to halt the delivery of the Mistral helicopter carriers, and called on all member states to take a similar line regarding exports not covered by the EU sanctions decisions, in particular as regards arms and dual-use material.
The European Parliament said that "strongly condemns the Russian Federation for waging an undeclared 'hybrid war' against Ukraine with the use of regular Russian forces and supporting illegally armed groups; underlines the fact that these actions by the Russian leadership constitute a threat not only to the unity and independence of Ukraine, but to the whole European continent."
It also called on Russia immediately to withdraw all its military assets and forces from Ukraine, to prohibit the flows of fighters and weapons into eastern Ukraine, and to end support, direct or indirect, for the actions of the separatist forces on Ukrainian soil.
"[The EP] reiterates its commitment to the independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and inviolability of borders of Ukraine, and its right to make a European choice; reiterates that the international community will not recognize the illegal annexing of Crimea and Sevastopol or the attempts at creating quasi-republics in Donbas; welcomes the EU decision to prohibit imports originating from Crimea unless accompanied by a certificate of origin from the Ukrainian authorities; condemns, furthermore, the enforced 'passportisation' of Ukrainian citizens in Crimea, the persecution of Ukrainians and Crimean Tatars, and the threats made by the self-proclaimed leaders against Crimean citizens who expressed their interest in voting in the upcoming parliamentary elections," reads the resolution.
European lawmakers highlighted the OSCE's crucial role in resolving the Ukrainian crisis, emphasizing the need to deploy without any further delay the OSCE monitors all along the parts of the Ukrainian-Russian border currently under the control of the separatists. They also emphasized the importance of establishing an inclusive national dialogue, avoiding propaganda, hate speech and rhetoric, which may further aggravate the conflict.
Welcoming the simultaneous ratification by the European Parliament and the Verkhovna Rada of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, MEPs "deplored the extraordinary measures and level of pressure exerted by Russia," stating that the agreement "cannot and will not be changed." They took note of the ongoing consultations between Ukraine, Russia and the EU on the implementation of the agreement and expressed hope that "it will help solve any misunderstandings."
According to the MEPs, the European Commission should follow closely the impact of the Russian so-called "counter-sanctions" and take swift measures to support producers that are hit by the Russian trade restrictions, as well as assess the impact of the measures taken in order possibly to extend the list of products covered and to increase the EUR 125 million budget. The EP also urged the European Commission not to restrict itself to market measures but to also take medium-term measures in order to strengthen the EU's presence on third-country markets.
In conclusion, the resolution states that the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement does not constitute the final goal in EU-Ukraine relations.
"Ukraine – like any other European state – has a European perspective and may apply to become a member of the European Union provided it adheres to the principles of democracy, respects fundamental freedoms and human and minority rights, and ensures the rule of law," reads the document.