On Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine
post-template-default,single,single-post,postid-33614,single-format-standard,cookies-not-set,et_divi_builder,qode-social-login-1.1.2,qode-restaurant-1.1.1,stockholm-core-2.4.4,tribe-no-js,page-template-stockholm,select-theme-ver-9.10,ajax_fade,page_not_loaded,vertical_menu_enabled,menu-animation-underline,side_area_uncovered,,qode_menu_,et-pb-theme-stockholm,et-db,wpb-js-composer js-comp-ver-7.6,vc_responsive

On Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine

Ukraine is a sovereign and independent state that is free to determine its future. Ukraine has the right to choose its European path and alliances freely, and to continue its transition towards a stable and prosperous European democracy.

We stand with Ukraine. We fully support it in its fight to recover full territorial integrity and sovereignty. I condemn in the strongest possible terms Russia’s illegal, unprovoked, unjustified and barbaric military invasion of Ukraine, as well as the involvement of Belarus in this aggression. Russia must immediately cease all hostilities and withdraw its troops from the whole territory of Ukraine, including Crimea.

This is not only a war against Ukraine but against the whole democratic world and its values. We praise the courage of Ukrainians who are fighting not only for their freedom but also for our common values. Ukraine is Europe. A democratic European Ukraine, increasingly stable and prosperous, is and will be an inspiration for us and the Russian people.

From an early stage, the EPP Group was united in calling on the EU Member States to grant EU candidate status to Ukraine and we welcome the European Council’s decision to grant it. The EPP has taken up leadership in supporting Ukraine since the beginning of the war. Now we need to go a step further and spearhead support for Ukraine’s future NATO membership. EU and G7 countries urgently need a strategy for financing Ukraine’s defence and survival: weapons deliveries, functioning of the Ukrainian state, and reconstruction of the country.

Sanctions on Russia are playing an important role in weakening Russia’s military potential. Our resolve must not waver to keep and ramp up these sanctions until the last Russian soldier leaves the occupied territories of Ukraine and until Moscow agrees to pay to cover all the damage that Ukraine has suffered.

The end of the war and Ukraine’s victory depends on the quantity and quality of the weapons delivered by the West. I strongly support the EU’s historic decision to help Ukraine defend itself by sending weapons through the European Peace Facility. I encourage friendly nations to continue to deliver weapons to Ukraine without delay. The EU must move from just asking its Member States to deliver what they find in their storehouses to a new more systematic approach.

The EU has to take leadership in the fight against the impunity of the Russian aggression. We want to set up a special International Tribunal to hold Russia accountable for the crime of aggression against Ukraine. Such a Tribunal will hold the highest authorities of Russia accountable, including Mr Putin himself. It would complement the works of the ICC, which started to investigate war crimes perpetrated by ordinary Russian soldiers in Ukraine, like the ones we saw in Bucha, Irpin and Izium. The same Tribunal should also investigate and prosecute the illegitimate leader of Belarus, Mr Lukashenko.

We need to stop sending billions to Mr Putin. We want the EU to become fully independent from Russian fossil fuels. By purchasing Russia’s gas and oil, Europe is indirectly financing the Russian army. We need to improve the effectiveness of the EU sanctions on Russia. For Russia’s gas and oil, every year, the EU has been paying double the amount of what Russians invest in their defence. We reiterate our call for a total ban on energy imports from Russia, with an embargo on Russian oil, coal and nuclear fuel immediately, as well as a gas embargo as soon as possible. The G7 countries should substantially lower the price cap on Russian oil and petroleum products. Russian Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) imports should be banned, as well as shipments of Russian oil and LNG exports through the EU. New systems should be established to improve the enforcement of the ban on military and dual-use goods.

The Russian invasion is causing a humanitarian catastrophe and the displacement of millions of people. We must continue to ensure safe passage and quick refuge for innocent civilians fleeing from Putin’s bombs. The solidarity across Europe to help refugees from Ukraine is impressive and encouraging. We encourage the Russian people to stand up against Mr Putin. By invading Ukraine, Mr Putin is politically finished and is setting his own country back several decades. He is suppressing Russian civil society by arresting protestors against his war in Ukraine.