Ukraine: "If the EU’s reaction is weak, Putin will make another step" 

Paweł Kowal during the Facebook chat  

Ukraine has been making the headlines for months. What started as mass demonstrations escalated into violent clashes and finally the annexation of the Crimean peninsula by Russia. "The EU should have reacted much earlier," said Paweł Kowal, the head of Parliament’s delegation to Ukraine. The Polish member of the ECR group discussed the situation in the troubled country during a chat with the Parliament’s Facebook fans on 9 April.

Many expressed their concerns over Russia's role in the crisis and its annexation of Crimea. Mr Kowal said the measures already taken against Russia were not enough: “We need to stop military cooperation with Russia and halt arms trade with them as well.” He also said  that Putin is closely following the EU’s response to Crimea: “If the reaction is weak, he makes another step."

There were also many questions about how the situation in Ukraine would affect energy supplies in Europea as many countries depend on Russian gas. Mr Kowal said that he was not worried about a new energy crisis: “Member states have enough gas stored and should be able to import shale gas from the United States." However, he did add: “The EU should become independent of Russian gas”.

The association agreement between EU and Ukraine was discussed. The agreement, which has the Parliament’s support, was due to be signed last November, but the Ukrainian government withdrew at the last minute, leading to mass demonstrations. Mr Kowal said the agreement was now ready to be signed and that this would happen after the Ukrainian presidential elections in May.

Read the full text of the chat by clicking on the link on the right.