Procedure : 2014/2841(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B8-0118/2014

Texts tabled :


Debates :

Votes :

PV 18/09/2014 - 10.4
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :


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See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B8-0118/2014

to wind up the debate on the statement by the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy

pursuant to Rule 123(2) of the Rules of Procedure

on the situation in Ukraine and state of play of EU-Russian relations (2014/2841(RSP))

Knut Fleckenstein, Victor Boştinaru, Richard Howitt, Ana Gomes, Pier Antonio Panzeri, Ioan Mircea Paşcu, Tonino Picula, Boris Zala, Kati Piri, Marju Lauristin, Liisa Jaakonsaari, Goffredo Maria Bettini, Nicola Caputo, Jo Leinen, Arne Lietz, Francisco Assis, Miroslav Poche, Vilija Blinkevičiūtė, Vincent Peillon, on behalf of the S&D Group

European Parliament resolution on the situation in Ukraine and state of play of EU-Russian relations (2014/2841(RSP))  

The European Parliament,

–       having regard to the Joint Ministerial Statement on the Implementation of the EU‑Ukraine Association Agreement / Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (AA/DCFTA) of 12 September 2014,

–       having regard to the statements by the President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, on further EU restrictive measures against Russia of 8 and 11 September 2014,

–       having regard to the Protocol on the results of consultations of the Trilateral Contact Group, signed in Minsk on 5 September 2014,

–       having regard to the Wales NATO Summit Declaration of 5 September 2014,

–       having regard to the outcome of the extraordinary meeting of the European Agriculture Council of 5 September 2014,

–       having regard to the European Council conclusions of 30 August 2014,

–       having regard to the Foreign Affairs Council conclusions of 22 July 2014,

–       having regard to Rule 123(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.     whereas the summer of 2014 was marked by further escalation of the conflict in eastern Ukraine; whereas, according to UN estimates, at least 3000 people have lost their lives and many more thousands have been injured; whereas hundreds of thousands of civilians have fled the conflict areas;

B.     whereas the tragic downing of the Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 in the Donetsk region provoked outrage in international and European public opinion; whereas the UN and the EU demanded a thorough international investigation of the circumstances of the accident, and whereas the bringing to justice of those responsible is a moral and legal obligation;

C.     whereas there is evidence of direct and indirect support of the separatists by Russia, including by military means; whereas this evidence prompted the EU Member States to take a more decisive stance towards Russia and to adopt additional sanctions; whereas, in return, the Russian Federation decided to ban imports of certain agricultural products, food and raw materials from the European Union, the United States, Canada, Australia and Norway;

D.     whereas as a consequence of the illegal annexation of Crimea by Russia and the latter’s role in the Ukrainian fighting, EU-Russian relations have reached their lowest point since the end of the Cold War;

E.     whereas, after five months of deadly conflict, a much-needed but fragile truce was agreed on 5 September 2014 in the Belorussian capital of Minsk; whereas sporadic shooting has continued in eastern Ukraine;

1.      Reaffirms its solidarity with the Ukrainian people and its support for a political settlement to the current crisis in eastern Ukraine that respects the sovereignty, territorial integrity, unity, and independence of Ukraine, as well as its freedom to choose political and trade alliances, and that ensures strong protection of minority rights in all regions of Ukraine;

2.      Calls 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;

3.      Reiterates its condemnation of the illegal annexation of Crimea and supports the decision of the Council and the EU Member States not to recognise it; welcomes the EU decision to prohibit imports originating from Crimea unless accompanied by a certificate of origin from the Ukrainian authorities;

4.      Welcomes the ‘Protocol on the implementation of the Peace Plan of the President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, and the initiatives of the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin’, signed after consultations of the Trilateral Contact Group in Minsk on 5 September 2014; believes that the ceasefire could be a first important step that could pave the way for meaningful political dialogue and for achieving an overall political settlement; regrets the fact that sporadic shelling still continues in eastern Ukraine and urges all the parties in conflict to work constructively for a de-escalation of the crisis and for reconciliation;

5.      Strongly supports the OSCE in its efforts to stabilise the situation in Ukraine; recalls that the OSCE is currently the only European post-Cold-War institution able to bring together Russia, Ukraine and their European partners; welcomes the expansion of the Special Monitoring Mission to enable it to fulfil tasks such as ceasefire and border monitoring; calls on the organisation to increase, as soon as possible, the number of observers in areas of confrontation, and urges the Russian Federation, as an OSCE participating state, to adhere to all OSCE norms, principles and commitments;

6.      Notes that the EU has decided to implement additional sanctions, although a ceasefire has begun to be implemented in eastern Ukraine; points out that the ambiguity surrounding the implementation of the ceasefire so far justifies this decision and warns that the Union will be ready to implement further sanctions if Russia and the separatist forces in Donbas do not demonstrate in an unambiguous manner their willingness to cooperate in the efforts to de-escalate the crisis; at the same time, supports the statements by the President of the European Council to the effect that, depending on the situation on the ground, the EU might review the agreed sanctions in whole or in part; insists that sanctions cannot replace the active search for a diplomatic and political settlement of the current crisis; is convinced that, when imposing or reviewing sanctions, EU unity and solidarity are essential if the measures are to yield the desired political effects;

7.      Recalls that the restrictive measures taken by the EU are directly linked to the Russian Federation’s violation of international law with the illegal annexation of Crimea and the destabilisation of Ukraine, while the trade measures taken by the Russian Federation, including those against Ukraine and other Eastern Partnership countries which have recently concluded Association Agreements with the EU, are unjustified;

8.      Welcomes the measures adopted by the EU Agriculture Council of 5 September, and urges the Commission to explore ways of enabling the EU to cope better with similar crises in the future and to do its utmost to support in a substantial and timely manner the European producers affected;

9.      Welcomes the decision of the French President François Hollande to suspend the delivery of a Mistral warship to Russia, making it conditional on maintaining the ceasefire and achieving a political solution; calls on all EU Member States to fully respect the embargo on trade in arms and the export ban on dual-use goods for military end-users;

10     Welcomes the outcome of the NATO summit in Wales as a timely and appropriate response to the changing security environment in Europe resulting from Russia’s actions in Ukraine;

11.    Calls on the Council and the EEAS to accelerate the deployment of the CSDP Advisory Mission for Civilian Sector Reform in Ukraine;

12.    Takes note of the Dutch Safety Board’s preliminary report on the investigation into the crash involving Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, issued on 9 September 2014, which confirms that the plane was shot down; regrets that the fighting did not permit unhindered access for investigators to the crash site and expects that the ceasefire will facilitate the investigation process; urges all parties to show genuine willingness to cooperate;

13.    Expresses satisfaction with the release of hostages held by the illegally armed groups in eastern Ukraine and calls for the freeing of Ukrainian prisoners detained in the Russian Federation; requests, furthermore, the immediate release and safe return to Estonia of Eston Kohver, the Estonian officer who has been abducted from the sovereign territory of Estonia to Russia; stresses the obligation of the Russian authorities to provide him with unhindered and regular contact with official representatives of the Estonian Republic and to ensure his personal wellbeing and security whilst on Russian territory;

14.    Points out the urgent need to provide humanitarian assistance and relief to the population in the conflict-affected areas, internally displaced people and refugees; welcomes the Commission’s recent decision to mobilise EUR 22 million in humanitarian and development aid for Ukraine; recalls that the delivery of humanitarian aid to eastern Ukraine must be carried out in full compliance with international humanitarian law and the principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence and in close coordination with the Ukrainian Government, the UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC); echoes the recent alert by the World Health Organization that eastern Ukraine is facing a health emergency, with hospitals not fully functioning and a shortage of medicines and vaccines; calls on the EU and international donors to take urgent action in this respect;

15.    Underlines the need for confidence-building between various communities in society and calls for a sustainable reconciliation process; in this context, emphasises the importance of establishing an inclusive national dialogue, avoiding propaganda, hate speech and rhetoric, including from Russia, which may further aggravate the conflict; emphasises that an inclusive dialogue such as this should involve civil society organisations and citizens from all the regions and minorities;

16.    Calls for a thorough, comprehensive and transparent investigation of human rights abuses that took place during the five-month-old conflict, as well as of the February sniper killings in Maidan and the tragic events that took place in Odesa on 2 May 2014, making sure that those responsible face justice;

17.    Welcomes the recent signing of a new EU programme, worth EUR 10 million, which is designed to enhance the role of civil society in promoting and monitoring democratic reforms and inclusive socio-economic development in Ukraine;

18.    Takes the view that the forthcoming parliamentary elections offer an excellent opportunity for re-establishing democratic representation in the Verkhovna Rada; looks forward to a stable, prosperous and democratic future for all Ukrainian citizens; is convinced that only a truly democratic and sovereign Ukraine will be able to decide independently on its own future; urges, therefore, the rebel forces in eastern Ukraine not to obstruct the electoral process and to guarantee the fundamental right of Donbas residents to freely elect their representatives; points out, furthermore, the importance of conducting the election in line with international standards and of ensuring the formation of an inclusive government with due respect for the election’s outcome; calls upon all political parties currently represented in the Verkhovna Rada to take part in the elections and on all sides fully to respect their outcome;

19.    Believes that decentralisation of power will contribute to maintaining a sustainable peace in eastern Ukraine and expresses satisfaction that this is one of the main points of President Poroshenko’s peace plan and of the Minsk Protocol; warns, however, against arrangements that jeopardise the independence, unity and sovereignty of Ukraine, or its freedom to choose political and trade alliances; is concerned that the crisis may give rise to another protracted frozen conflict in Europe’s neighbourhood, with adverse implications for the long-term security of Ukraine, the EU and Russia, and calls on all sides to take measures to pre-empt such a scenario;

20.    Regrets that the consultations between Ukraine, Russia and the EU with a view to ensuring security of energy supply and transit have not borne significant results; stresses the need for the EU and all its Member States to rebalance their energy dependency on Russia and to make sure that European aid will not be used mainly to repay the debt to Gazprom; believes, on the contrary, that the EU Member States would substantially help Ukraine by declaring a moratorium on debt and interest payments until its economy stabilises; calls on the Russian authorities and Gazprom to address urgently the concerns about shortages of gas delivery to EU Member States; supports the suspension of negotiations over Russia’s joining the International Energy Agency;

21.    Declares that it has proceeded to the speedy ratification of the AA/DCFTA with Ukraine, simultaneously with the vote in the Verkhovna Rada, in order to express its solidarity with the Ukrainian people at this difficult time and to show its unconditional support for their quest for a better life in a democratic country; underlines, however, its view that the AA and DCFTA provisions do not constitute any commercial or geopolitical challenges for the Russian Federation, nor does the Association Agreement impede the good relations of Ukraine with its eastern neighbours;

22.    Takes note of the joint decision of the EU and Ukraine to postpone the implementation of the DCFTA until December 2015; considers it important that the agreed text of the DCFTA is not re-opened to negotiation; warmly welcomes the Commission’s plan to extend the low tariff regime on imports from Ukraine; supports the ongoing consultation between Ukraine, Russia and the EU on the implementation of the AA/DCFTA with Ukraine and hopes that it will help solve any misunderstandings and satisfy legitimate concerns; regrets the fact that these consultations started to be held only at a very late stage and criticises the slow pace of the process that has led to the postponement of the AA/DCFTA implementation;

23.    Stresses that relations of partnership and cooperation with Russia should be re‑established when Russia demonstrates compliance with international law, contributes actively and without ambiguities to a peaceful solution to the Ukrainian crisis, and fully respects the territorial integrity, independence and sovereignty of Ukraine, as well as of other countries of the Eastern Partnership and its neighbours; invites the new HR/VP to take a proactive role in facilitating dialogue between Ukraine and Russia, as well as the EU’s dialogue with Russia, and in promoting peaceful solutions to conflicts; believes, furthermore, that the Commission should explore the modalities of EU cooperation with the Eurasian Economic Union;

24.    Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Vice President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Security Policy, the EU Member States, the President, Government and Parliament of Ukraine and the President, Government and Parliament of the Russian Federation.

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