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EP calls for the continuation of sanctions against Russia

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The European Parliament expressed its full solidarity with Ukraine and its people, and condemned the acts of terrorism and criminal behaviour of the separatists and other irregular forces in eastern Ukraine.

A majority of the MEPs backed the relative resolution on Ukraine in Strasbourg on Thursday.

"[The European Parliament] strongly condemns Russia's aggressive and expansionist policy, which constitutes a threat to the unity and independence of Ukraine and poses a potential threat to the EU itself," reads the approved document.

The MEPs drew attention to the illegal annexation of Crimea and waging an undeclared hybrid war against Ukraine, including information war, blending elements of cyber warfare, use of regular and irregular forces, propaganda, economic pressure, energy blackmail, diplomacy and political destabilization.

The EP stressed that these actions are in breach of international law and constitute a serious challenge to the European security situation.

"[The European parliamentarians] emphasized that there is no justification for the use of military force in Europe in defense of so-called historical and security motives or for the protection of one's so-called 'compatriots living abroad', and called on Moscow to stop escalating the situation by immediately halting the flow of weapons, mercenaries and troops in support of the separatist militants and to use its influence with the separatists to convince them to engage in the political process," said the document.

The document also urges to continue the current EU sanctions regime as long as Russia does not fully respect and deliver on its Minsk obligations.

The European Commission stressed the need to adopt a clear set of benchmarks which, when achieved, could prevent imposing new restrictive measures against Russia or lead to lifting of the previous ones, including: implementation of the ceasefire, unconditional withdrawal from Ukraine of all Russian troops and Russian-backed illegal armed groups and mercenaries; exchange of all prisoners including Nadia Savchenko, and restoration of Ukraine's control over its whole territory, including Crimea.

Otherwise, the European Council to take up further restrictive measures and broaden their scope, by covering the nuclear sector and by limiting the ability of Russian entities to conduct international financial transactions, according to the resolution's text.

However, the document says that the political and diplomatic channels towards Russia must stay open in order to enable diplomatic solutions to the conflict, and therefore supports formats such as Geneva and Normandy if tangible results can be achieved.

Besides, it calls on the European Commission and the Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement to prepare and present to Parliament within two months a communication strategy to counter the Russian propaganda campaign directed towards the EU, its eastern neighbours and Russia itself, and to develop instruments that would allow the EU and its Member States to address the propaganda campaign at European and national level.

Source: Interfax-Ukraine

Source: RBC-Ukraine
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