Boris Tarasyuk, the Ukrainian government's special envoy for Crimea, told the foreign affairs committee on Monday that Ukraine needed the EU to sign the association agreement as quickly as possible. He called Russia's action "both intervention and aggression" and voiced his gratitude for MEPs' solidarity.
“The institutions in place in Ukraine at this moment are legitimate. There is no justification for the military movement that we have seen,” said the foreign affairs committee chair, Elmar Brok (EPP, DE). “I have been in Ukraine recently. We did not see fascists in power. Instead we saw people that are standing up for democracy and civil rights. I saw no indication of discrimination in place against those of Russian ethnic origin.,” he added.
“Russia has now started to prevent the Ukrainian people from realising their dream to become an inseparable part of European society," said Mr Tarasyuk. “What Russia is doing is both intervention and aggression. This is a special kind of political-military operation,” he continued, stressing that the Ukrainian government gave orders not to shoot and not to provide any provocation.
Replying to MEPs' questions, Mr Tarasyuk stressed the importance of the European Parliament's solidarity and the need to sign the association agreement as quickly as possible. As examples of possible EU action, he also mentioned the launch of EU police monitoring missions and the lifting of visa requirements, as well as offering the prospect of possible EU membership.
Responding to MEPs’ questions on sanctions, Mr Tarasyuk argued in favour of imposing them, including economic sanctions on Russia. . He added that sanctions should also target those involved in the decisions to use armed force on the territory of Ukraine.
He also pointed out that Russia pledged to uphold Ukraine’s territorial integrity in the "Budapest memorandum" signed with the US and the UK in 1994.
Protection of minorities
Mr Tarasyak told MEPs that national minorities are respected in Ukraine and that there are plans to prepare a new version of the law on minorities. He reminded them that Ukraine is a party to the Council of Europe's European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages and respects its provisions.
You can watch the video recording of the debate on EbS+.
In the chair: Elmar Brok (EPP, DE)