The European Parliament welcomes signs of hope in moves towards peace in Ukraine and in the newly-ratified EU-Ukraine association agreement, but worries about Russia’s real intentions in the undeclared "hybrid war" there. In a resolution adopted on Thursday, it urges the EU to stand up to Russia and step up support for EU farmers hit by its trade ban.
MEPs welcome the newly-passed Ukrainian laws on a special status for the contested districts of Donetsk and Luhansk and the amnesty approved by the Ukrainian Parliament on 16 September as an "important contribution to de-escalation"
The EU pact with Ukraine will not be changed
The EU-Ukraine Association and free trade agreement, ratified simultaneously on Tuesday by the Ukrainian and European parliaments, "cannot and will not be changed", despite the pressure exerted by Russia, MEPs stress. They call on EU countries to proceed swiftly with their own national procedures for ratifying the agreement.
MEPs welcome the signing of ceasefire in Minsk and deplore its violation by Russian troops andseparatists. But they worry that this ceasefire could "just be a pretext for Russian troops to regroup in order to continue their offensive".
EU sanctions are just and must be stepped up
The European Parliament supports the latest EU sanctions against Russia and deplores Russian "counter-sanctions" as “unjustified”. It calls on the EU to consider excluding Russia from civil nuclear cooperation and the SWIFT international payment system.
MEPs salute France’s decision to halt delivery of "Mistral" helicopter carriers to Russia and call on EU member states to follow its example with regard to exports not covered by the EU sanctions decisions such as arms and (civilian/military) “dual use” material.
MEPs call on the EU to regulate third-party businesses in the areas of gas storage, interconnectors and flow-back facilities, and urge the EU countries to cancel planned energy sector agreements with Russia, including the South Stream gas pipeline.
MEPs underline the importance of the "independent, rapid and full investigation", delegated to the Dutch Safety Board, into the causes of the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, and the need to bring those responsible for the crash to justice.
They nonetheless insist that there should be a political, not a military, solution, and stress the "reversibility and scalability" of the EU sanctions, should the situation in Ukraine improve. They also call on the EU to facilitate dialogue between Ukraine and Russia.
More money for EU farmers hit by Russia’s trade ban
The budget for EU measures offsetting the impact on EU farmers of Russia’s trade ban should be increased and their coverage extended to more products, say MEPs. They also call for promotional efforts to boost EU farm produce sales on alternative markets to avoid oversupply on the EU market. This money should come from EU funds other than agricultural ones, as the crisis was "first and foremost of a political nature",, say MEPs.
Call to release Estonian counter-intelligence officer
MEPs condemn the abduction of an Estonian counterintelligence officer from Estonian territory and call on Russia "to immediately release Mr Kohver and allow his safe to return to Estonia". They also deplore the abduction and brutal killing of the Honorary Consul of Lithuania Mykola Zelenc, in Luhansk.
Procedure: Non-legislative resolution