Original Resolution has been edited to concentrate on sanctions, Donbas and Crimea

Rapporteur: Sandra Kalniete (EPP/Latvia) 

On 12 March 2019, Parliament adopted a resolution by 402 votes to 163, with 89 abstentions, assessing the current state of EU-Russia political relations.

  1. whereas the full implementation of the Minsk Agreements and broader respect for international law remain key preconditions for closer cooperation with Russia; whereas in reaction to the illegal annexation of Crimea and the hybrid war against Ukraine by Russia, the EU has adopted a series of restrictive measures that should remain in place until the Minsk Agreements have been fulfilled;
  2. whereas new areas of tension between the EU and Russia have arisen since 2015, including: Kremlin support for anti-EU parties and far‑right movements ; discrimination against the Tatar minority in occupied Crimea,  the organisation of illegal and illegitimate elections in the Donbas; the holding of non-democratic presidential elections lacking any real choice and with restrictions on fundamental freedoms; the illegal construction of the Kerch Bridge; large-scale militarisation of illegally occupied and annexed Crimea, as well as parts of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov; restrictions on international navigation in the Sea of Azov and through the Kerch Strait, including ships sailing under the flags of EU Member States; the illegal attack on and seizure of Ukrainian naval vessels and the arrest of Ukrainian servicemen in the Kerch Strait;
  3. whereas the conflict in Eastern Ukraine has lasted more than four years and claimed over 10 000 lives, almost one third of them civilians, and thousands of conflict-related civilian injuries;
  4.  whereas the Russian authorities continue to treat illegally occupied regions as if they were an internal part of Russian territory by allowing the participation of representatives of these territories in the legislative and executive bodies of the Russian Federation, which is in violation of international law;

Challenges and shared interests

1.  Underlines that Russia’s illegal occupation and annexation of Crimea, a region of Ukraine, its direct and indirect involvement in armed conflicts in the eastern part of Ukraine constitutes a deliberate violation of international law, democratic principles and fundamental values; strongly condemns human rights violations carried out by Russian representatives on the occupied territories;

2.  Stresses that the EU cannot envisage a gradual return to ‘business as usual’ until Russia fully implements the Minsk Agreement and restores the territorial integrity of Ukraine; calls, in this regard, for a critical, comprehensive re-assessment by the EU of its relations with the Russian Federation;

3.  Stresses that under the present circumstances, Russia can no longer be considered a ‘strategic partner’; is of the view that that the principles of Article 2 of the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) are no longer being met, and that the PCA should therefore be reconsidered; believes that any framework for the EU-Russia relationship should be based on the full respect of international law, the Helsinki OSCE principles, democratic principles, human rights and the rule of law, and allow for dialogue on managing global challenges, the strengthening of global governance and ensuring enforcement of international rules, particularly with a view to guaranteeing European peace order, and security in EU’s neighbourhood and the Western Balkans;

4.  Believes that implementation of the Minsk Agreements would demonstrate Russia’s good will in contributing to resolving the conflict in Eastern Ukraine and its capacity to guarantee European security; stresses the necessity for consultations to be advanced within the Normandy format process, including a stronger EU role; reiterates its support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine

5. Is deeply concerned about the links between the Russian Government and the extreme right and populist nationalist parties and governments in the EU, such as in Hungary, that pose a threat to the fundamental values of the Union, which are enshrined in Article 2 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) and reflected in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, including respect for democracy, equality, the rule of law and human rights;

6    Reiterates that while the EU’s stance is firm, coherent and concerted with respect to EU sanctions on Russia, which will be prolonged as long as Russian violations of international law continue;

7.  Stresses that the restrictive targeted measures relating to Eastern Ukraine and occupied Crimea are not directed against the Russian people but against certain individuals and enterprises connected to the Russian leadership;

8.  Condemns Russia’s actions in the Sea of Azov in so far as they constitute a breach of international maritime law and Russia’s international commitments, as well as the building of the Kerch Bridge and the laying of underwater cables to the illegally annexed Crimean peninsula without the consent of Ukraine; remains deeply concerned about the Russian militarisation of the Sea of Azov, the Black Sea region ;

9.   Underscores that Russia’s disregard of international rules – in this case the freedom of the seas, bilateral agreements and the illegal annexation of Crimea – poses a threat to Russia’s neighbours in all parts of Europe, not only in the Black Sea region; highlights the importance of developing a firm policy towards Russia in all these respects;

10.  Calls on the VP/HR and on the Member States to strengthen their efforts towards a resolution of the so-called ‘frozen conflicts’ in the Eastern neighbourhood, in order to ensure greater security and stability for the EU’s Eastern partners;


11. Believes that meaningful dialogue requires firmer unity among Member States and clearer communication of the red lines on the EU side; stresses, therefore, that the EU should stand ready to adopt further sanctions, including targeted personal sanctions, and limiting access to finances and and technology if Russia’s violation of international law continues; stresses stresses, however, that such measures are not against the Russian people but targeted individuals; calls on the Council to carry out an in-depth analysis of the efficiency and strictness of the sanctions regime in place; welcomes the Council’s decision to impose restrictive measures on European companies involved in the illegal construction of the Kerch Bridge; reiterates its concern at the involvement of these companies which, through this involvement, either knowingly or unknowingly undermined the EU sanctions regime; calls on the Commission, in this context, to assess and verify the application of the EU restrictive measures in force, and on the Member States to share information regarding any national customs or criminal investigations into cases of potential violations;

12. Calls for the EU to verify the application of the EU restrictive measures in force, as well as the sharing of information between Member States, in order to ensure that the EU sanctions regime against Russia’s actions is not undermined, but applied in proportion to the threats posed by Russia; underlines the danger of weakening the sanctions without Russia demonstrating through clear actions, not only in words, that it respects the borders of Europe and the sovereignty of its neighbours and other nations, as well as international rules and agreements; reiterates that business as usual only can be possible once Russia fully respects the rules and restricts itself to acting in a peaceful manner;

13. Calls on the Commission to closely monitor the consequences of Russian counter-sanctions on economic actors and, if needed, consider compensatory measures;

14. Underlines that there can only be political solutions to the conflict in Eastern Ukraine; encourages confidence-building measures in the Donbas region; supports a mandate for deploying a UN peacekeeping force in this region of Eastern Ukraine; reiterates its call to appoint an EU Special Envoy for Crimea and the Donbas region;

15. Condemns the arbitrary measure of banning EU politicians, among them current and former Members of the European Parliament, and EU officials from access to Russian territory; calls for the immediate and unconditional lifting of the entry ban;

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