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 Full text 
Tuesday, 9 June 2015 - Strasbourg Revised edition

State of EU-Russia relations (debate)

  Johannes Cornelis van Baalen, on behalf of the ALDE Group. Mr President, I would like to compliment Gabrielius Landsbergis, who has made a resolution which combined all the credible forces in this Parliament. So thank you for doing so, Mr Landsbergis.

The basis will be the return of international law by Russia: that is, of course, that Crimea should be given back to Ukraine and those who signed the Budapest Memorandum should be helping in this and should not be absent. Secondly, Russia should stop its involvement in eastern Ukraine and adhere to the Minsk Agreement – and only facts on the ground can change our position towards Russia.

It is a two-track approach: it means being hard on Putin but willing to cooperate with Russian civil society, because many Russians want peace as well. It will take a lot of time. In this Parliament we always want things to happen overnight, but Putin has a long-term strategy of crippling Russia’s neighbours. So also to return Putin, or a successor, to international law will take time, and we have to be tough. We should not give in – let time do its work. There are no speedy resolutions, no business as usual.

To conclude, there is that blacklist. But I think it is a list of honour. It is an honour to be on a list with so many colleagues who are pro-Ukrainian but who also love the Russian people and want to get Russia back on track. So again, to be on that list is an honour and a pleasure. We will not change anything. Putin has to change. That’s it.

(The speaker agreed to take a blue-card question under Rule 162(8))

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