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PV 12/03/2014 - 6
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PV 13/03/2014 - 14.12
CRE 13/03/2014 - 14.12

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Thursday, 13 March 2014 - Strasbourg
Invasion of Ukraine by Russia

European Parliament resolution of 13 March 2014 on the invasion of Ukraine by Russia (2014/2627(RSP))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on the European Neighbourhood Policy, on the Eastern Partnership (EaP) and on Ukraine, and with particular reference to that of 27 February 2014 on the situation in Ukraine(1),

–  having regard to its resolution of 12 December 2013 on the outcome of the Vilnius Summit and the future of the Eastern Partnership, in particular as regards Ukraine(2),

–  having regard to its resolution of 6 February 2014 on the EU-Russia Summit(3),

–  having regard to the conclusions of the Foreign Affairs Council extraordinary meeting of 3 March 2014 on Ukraine,

–  having regard to the North Atlantic Council’s statement of 4 March 2014,

–  having regard to the statement of the Heads of State or Government on Ukraine following the European Council’s extraordinary meeting on Ukraine of 6 March 2014,

–  having regard to Article 2(4) of the Charter of the United Nations,

–  having regard to Rule 110(2) and (4) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas Russia’s act of aggression in invading Crimea is a violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine and is against international law and in breach of Russia’s obligations as a signatory to the Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances for Ukraine, whereby it guaranteed to respect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine;

B.  whereas pro-Russian gunmen and Russian soldiers have seized key buildings in the Crimean capital of Simferopol, as well as important Ukrainian installations and strategic objectives in Crimea, including at least three airports; whereas most of the Ukrainian military units on the peninsula have been surrounded but have refused to give up their arms; whereas since the beginning of the crisis substantial numbers of additional Russian troops have been deployed in Ukraine;

C.  whereas the arguments presented by the Russian leadership to support this aggression are utterly unfounded and out of touch with the realities on the ground, as there have been no instances whatsoever of attacks on or intimidation of Russian or ethnic Russian citizens in Crimea;

D.  whereas the self-proclaimed and illegitimate authorities of Crimea decided on 6 March 2014 to ask Russia to incorporate Crimea into the Russian Federation and called a referendum for 16 March 2014 on Crimea’s secession from Ukraine, thus violating the constitutions of both Ukraine and Crimea;

E.  whereas the Russian Prime Minister has announced plans to apply swiftly procedures for Russian-speakers in foreign countries to gain Russian citizenship;

F.  whereas on 1 March 2014 the Federal Council of the Russian Federation authorised the deployment of Russian Federation armed forces in Ukraine in order to protect the interests of Russia and of Russian-speakers in Crimea and in the entire country;

G.  whereas strong international diplomatic action at all levels and a negotiated process are needed in order to de-escalate the situation, ease tensions, prevent the crisis from spiralling out of control and secure a peaceful outcome; whereas the EU must respond effectively so as to allow Ukraine to fully exercise its sovereignty and territorial integrity free from external pressure;

H.  whereas the 28 EU prime ministers and heads of state have issued a strong warning of the implications of Russia’s actions and taken the decision to suspend bilateral talks with Russia on visa matters and the negotiations for a new Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, and to suspend the participation of EU institutions in the preparations for the G8 Summit due to take place in Sochi in June 2014;

1.  Firmly condemns Russia’s act of aggression in invading Crimea, which is an inseparable part of Ukraine and recognised as such by the Russian Federation and by the international community; calls for the immediate de-escalation of the crisis, with the immediate withdrawal of all military forces present illegally on Ukrainian territory, and urges full respect for international law and existing conventional obligations;

2.  Recalls that these actions are in clear breach of the UN Charter, the OSCE Helsinki Final Act, the Statute of the Council of Europe, the 1994 Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances, the 1997 Bilateral Treaty on Friendship, Cooperation and Partnership, the 1997 Agreement on the Status and Conditions of the Presence of the Russian Black Sea Fleet on the Territory of Ukraine, and Russia’s international obligations; considers the acts undertaken by Russia as posing a threat to the security of the EU; regrets the decision of the Russian Federation not to attend the meeting on Ukraine’s security called by the signatories to the memorandum and scheduled for 5 March 2014 in Paris;

3.  Highlights the fact that the territorial integrity of Ukraine was guaranteed by Russia, the United States and the United Kingdom in the Budapest Memorandum signed with Ukraine, and points out that, according to the Ukrainian constitution, the Autonomous Republic of Crimea can only organise referendums on local matters and not on modifying the internationally recognised borders of Ukraine; stresses that a referendum on the issue of accession to the Russian Federation will therefore be considered illegitimate and illegal, as would any other referendum that contravened the Ukrainian constitution and international law; takes the same view of the decision of the illegitimate and self-proclaimed authorities of Crimea to declare independence on 11 March 2014;

4.  Emphasises the need for the EU and its Member States to speak to Russia with one united voice and to support the right of a united Ukraine to determine its future freely; welcomes, therefore, and strongly supports, the joint statement of the extraordinary European Council of 6 March 2014 that condemned the Russian acts of aggression and supported the territorial integrity, unity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine; calls for close transatlantic cooperation on steps towards a resolution of the crisis;

5.  Condemns as contrary to international law and codes of conduct the official Russian doctrine under which the Kremlin claims the right to intervene by force in the neighbouring sovereign states to ‘protect’ the safety of Russian compatriots living there; points out that such a doctrine is tantamount to usurping unilaterally the position of the highest arbiter of international law and has been used as justification for manifold acts of political, economic and military intervention;

6.  Recalls that in the nationwide independence referendum held in Ukraine in 1991, the majority of the Crimean population voted in support of independence;

7.  Stresses its conviction that the establishment of a constructive dialogue is the best way forward for resolving any conflict and for long-term stability in Ukraine; praises the Ukraine Government’s responsible, measured and restrained handling of this severe crisis, in which the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the country is at stake; calls on the international community to stand firmly by and support Ukraine;

8.  Rejects Russia’s stated objective of protecting the Russian-speaking population in Crimea as completely unfounded, as it has not faced – and does not face – any discrimination whatsoever; strongly rejects the defamation of protesters against Yanukovych’s policy as fascists by Russian propaganda;

9.  Calls for a peaceful solution to the current crisis and full respect for the principles of, and obligations laid down under, international law; takes the view that the situation must be contained and further de-escalated with a view to avoiding a military confrontation in Crimea;

10.  Underlines the utmost importance of international observation and mediation; calls on the EU institutions and Member States to be ready to exhaust every possible diplomatic and political avenue and work tirelessly with all relevant international organisations, such as the UN, the OSCE and the Council of Europe, to secure a peaceful solution, which must be based on the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine; calls, therefore, for the deployment of a fully fledged OSCE monitoring mission in Crimea;

11.  Welcomes the initiative taken to establish a Contact Group under the auspices of the OSCE, but regrets the fact that armed groups hindered the entry into Crimea of the OSCE observer mission on 6 March 2014; criticises the Russian authorities and the self-proclaimed Crimean authorities for not cooperating with the OSCE observer mission or granting its members full and safe access to the region;

12.  Deplores the fact that the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy to Crimea was forced to cut his mission short following violent threats against him;

13.  Takes the view that certain aspects of the agreement of 21 February 2014, which was negotiated by three foreign affairs ministers on behalf of the EU but broken by Yanukovych, who failed to honour it by signing the new constitutional law, could still be helpful with a view to exiting the current impasse; takes the view, however, that nobody can negotiate and/or accept solutions that undermine the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, and reaffirms the fundamental right of the Ukrainian people to determine their country's future freely;

14.  Notes with great concern the reports that armed people are marking the houses of Ukrainian Tatars in areas of Crimea where Tatars and Russians live together; notes that Crimean Tatars, who returned to their homeland following Ukraine’s independence after being deported by Stalin, have been calling on the international community to support the territorial integrity of Ukraine and a comprehensive legal and political agreement on the restoration of their rights as indigenous people of Crimea; calls on the international community, the Commission, the Council, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the EU Special Representative for Human Rights to protect the rights of this, and any other, minority community on the Crimean peninsula; demands a full investigation into the intimidation of Jews and attacks on Jewish religious sites following the invasion of Crimea;

15.  Welcomes the commitment of the Ukrainian Government to an ambitious reform agenda comprising political, economic and social change; welcomes, therefore, the Commission’s decision to provide Ukraine with a short- and medium-term financial aid and support package worth EUR 11 billion in order to help stabilise the country’s economic and financial situation; expects the Council and the Commission to come forward as swiftly as possible, together with the IMF, the World Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the European Investment Bank and other countries, with a long-term package of robust financial support to help Ukraine tackle its worsening economic and social situation and provide economic support to launch the necessary deep and comprehensive reforms of the Ukrainian economy; recalls the need to organise and coordinate an international donor conference, which should be convened by the Commission and take place as soon as possible; calls on the IMF to avoid imposing unbearable austerity measures, such as cutting the level of subsidies for energy, that will further aggravate the country’s already difficult socioeconomic situation;

16.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States, together with the Council of Europe and the Venice Commission, to provide, in addition to financial assistance, technical assistance as regards constitutional reform, the strengthening of the rule of law and the fight against corruption in Ukraine; looks forward to a positive track record in this respect, and stresses that the Maidan and all Ukrainians are expecting radical change and a proper system of governance;

17.  Calls for free, fair, transparent and nationwide elections with OSCE-ODIHR observation and reiterates its readiness to set up its own mission for this same purpose; invites the Ukrainian authorities to do their utmost to encourage high levels of voter participation in the presidential elections, including in the eastern and southern parts of the country; reiterates its call on the Ukrainian authorities to conduct parliamentary elections in accordance with the Venice Commission recommendations and supports the adoption of a proportional voting system that would facilitate proper representation of the local circumstances in the country; stresses the importance of the parliament and its members, at both central and local level, abiding by the rule of law;

18.  Invites Ukraine not to give in to pressure to postpone the presidential elections scheduled for 25 May 2014;

19.  Calls for a Government of Ukraine that is broad-based and as inclusive as possible in order to minimise the risk of renewed violence and territorial fragmentation; strongly warns Russia against actions that might contribute to heightened polarisation along ethnic or language lines; stresses the need to ensure that the rights of people belonging to national minorities, in accordance with international standards, including the rights of Russian-speaking Ukrainians, are fully protected and respected, working in close cooperation with the OSCE and the Council of Europe; reiterates its call for a new wide-ranging language regime supporting all minority languages;

20.  Welcomes the decision of the Acting President to veto the bill aimed at repealing the Language Policy Law of 3 July 2012; recalls that in any case this law would not apply to Crimea; calls on the Verkhovna Rada to eventually reform the existing legislation, bringing it into line with Ukraine’s obligations under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages;

21.  Welcomes the readiness of the 28 EU heads of state or government to sign the political chapters of the Association Agreement (AA) as soon as possible and before the presidential elections on 25 May 2014, and to adopt unilateral measures, such as tariff cuts for Ukrainian exports to the EU, which allow Ukraine to benefit from the provisions of the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA), as proposed by the Commission on 11 March 2014; points out that the EU stands ready to sign the full AA/DCFTA as soon as possible, and as soon as the Ukrainian Government is ready to take this step; insists on clear signals demonstrating to Russia that nothing in this agreement endangers or harms future cooperative bilateral political and economic relations between Ukraine and Russia; points out, furthermore, that, pursuant to Article 49 of the Treaty on European Union, Ukraine – like any other European state – has a European perspective and may apply to become a member of the Union, provided that it adheres to the principles of democracy, respects fundamental freedoms and human and minority rights, and ensures the rule of law;

22.  Recalls, in this respect, that the export of arms and military technology can endanger the stability and peace of the entire region and should be immediately stopped; deeply deplores the fact that EU Member States have extensively exported arms and military technology to Russia, including major strategic conventional capacities;

23.  Welcomes the European Council’s decision of 6 March 2014 on a first wave of targeted measures towards Russia, such as the suspension of bilateral talks on visa matters and the New Agreement, as well as the decision by the Member States and EU institutions to suspend their participation in the G8 Summit in Sochi; warns, however, that in the absence of de-escalation or in the event of further escalation with the annexation of Crimea, the EU should quickly take appropriate measures, which should include an arms and dual-use technology embargo, restrictions on visas, the freezing of assets, the application of money laundering legislation against individuals involved in the decision-making process with respect to the invasion of Ukraine, and measures against Russian companies and their subsidiaries, particularly in the energy sector, to fully comply with EU law, and have consequences for existing political and economic ties with Russia;

24.  Stresses that the parliamentary cooperation established between the European Parliament and the Russian State Duma and the Federation Council cannot be conducted along the lines of business as usual;

25.  Welcomes the Council’s decision to adopt sanctions focused on the freezing and recovery of misappropriated Ukrainian funds, targeting 18 individuals, including Yanukovych;

26.  Calls, in this regard, on the Commission to support projects in the Southern Corridor that effectively diversify energy supplies, and urges Member States not to engage their public companies in projects with Russian companies that increase European vulnerability;

27.  Stresses the importance of secure, diversified and affordable energy supply for Ukraine: underlines, in this connection, the strategic role of the Energy Community, of which Ukraine holds the presidency in 2014, and of building up Ukraine’s resistance against energy threats coming from Russia; recalls the need to increase EU storage capacities and provide reverse flow of gas from EU Member States for Ukraine; welcomes the Commission’s proposal to modernise Ukraine’s Gas Transit System and to assist in its payment of debts to Gazprom; stresses the urgent need to make further progress towards achieving a common energy security policy, with a robust internal market and diversified energy supply, and to work for the full implementation of the Third Energy Package, thus making the EU less dependent on Russian oil and gas;

28.  Calls on the Council to immediately authorise the Commission to speed up visa liberalisation with Ukraine, so as to advance along the path of introducing a visa-free regime, following the example of Moldova; calls, in the meantime, for the immediate introduction of temporary, very simple, low-cost visa procedures at EU and Member State level;

29.  Strongly believes that events in Ukraine highlight the need for the EU to redouble its commitment to and support for the European choice and territorial integrity of Moldova and Georgia as they prepare to sign the Association and DCFTA Agreements with the EU later this year;

30.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the governments of the Member States, the acting President and the Government and Parliament of Ukraine, the Council of Europe, and the President, Government and Parliament of the Russian Federation.

(1) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2014)0170.
(2) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2013)0595.
(3) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2014)0101.

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