The EU should look at the relationships with Russia from a different angle and abandon the concept of strategic partnership with the country, the European Parliament says, Interfax reports.
The European Parliament, at a plenary session in Strasbourg on Thursday, adopted the resolution about the state of affairs in Ukraine and the relations between the EU and Russia. The European Parliament called on the EU and its member states not to lift sanctions imposed against Russia if Moscow does not meet the requirements to de-escalate the Ukrainian crisis. According to European MPs, the EU must be prepared to impose new restrictive measures, such as exclude Russia from Russia cooperation in the nuclear field and from the system of international settlements SWIFT.
As stated in the resolution, any EU sanctions against Russia should be elaborated in a way not to let the Kremlin-associated businesses bypass them. MEPs call on the EU to closely monitor such forms of cooperation as the exchange of shareholdings and joint ventures. The European Parliament supports the decisions of the NATO summit to strengthen collective security in accordance with Article 5 of the Washington Treaty - about the strengthening of the eastern periphery of the alliance. The European Parliament called on the EU to consider gas storage systems, pipeline connections and reverse pipelines as strategic objects.
The Parliament urged the European Union to cancel the planned agreements with Russia in the energy sector, including in relation to the South Stream project. According to MEPs, one should strengthen energy independence and resistance to external pressure to create a fully functioning gas market in Europe. They also welcomed the decision of the French government to suspend the supply of Mistral helicopter carriers to Russia and called upon other countries to take a similar stance on the export of goods, especially weapons and dual-use goods.
The European Parliament "strongly condemns the Russian Federation for waging the unannounced hybrid war against Ukraine by using Russian regular armed forces and by supporting illegal armed groups." The document contains the previously announced position on the illegitimacy of the Crimean referendum to become a part of Russia and its non-recognition by EU countries. At the same time, the European Parliament welcome ceasefire in the east of Ukraine and Kiev's move to grant a special status to certain territories of Luhansk and Donetsk regions.
European lawmakers highlight the key role of the OSCE in addressing the Ukrainian crisis, demanding OSCE observers should be immediately deployed on the entire part of the Ukrainian-Russian border, which is now controlled by opponents of the Ukrainian authorities. They note the importance of establishing a national dialogue in Ukraine, avoiding propaganda and hate speech.
Welcoming the simultaneous ratification of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, the by European Parliament and the Verkhovna Rada, MEPs expressed regret in connection with emergency measures and pressure from Russia." They also said that the text of the agreement "can not be changed."
According to MEPs, the European Commission should monitor the influence of economic measures of Russia against the EU and increase the currently allocated amount of 125 million euros to compensate European farmers and actively explore the markets of third countries.
The European Parliament also expressed regret that the militias in eastern Ukraine had not given an international access to experts to the crash site of the Malaysian airliner, calling all parties to immediately provide access for the experts.
Russia does not show pressure on the West by means of sanctions. Instead, Russia is being guided by the interests of its own development, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a meeting of the State Council.
"Protective measures were not prompted by the wish to punish some of the partners," he said. "God will judge them, it's their decision," he said. "We, first of all, think about our own interests and development objectives," said the president.
Putin also noted that a number of Western countries allowed themselves to cross out the principles of the WTO by imposing sanctions on Russia. "The introduction of restrictions against Russia is nothing but rejection of the basic principles of the WTO of some of our partners," he said. "It violates the principle of equality of conditions for all countries to access markets of goods and services and ignores most favored nation treatment in trade, as well as the principle of fair and free competition," the president said.
"This is all politicized, without complying with WTO rules," he said. "In fact, a group of Western countries unilaterally crossed out these and other principles and rules of the WTO for Russia, which is among six largest economies in the world," said Putin.
In the next two years, to improve the competitiveness of the real sector of the Russian economy, one would have to do the amount of work, the implementation of which would take years before, Vladimir Putin said.
"I want to emphasize that over the next year or two, it is necessary to make a real breakthrough in enhancing the competitiveness of the Russian real sector - to do the work that would take, perhaps, years before," Putin said at the meeting of the State Council on the development of domestic business.
The head of Russian Technologies, Sergei Chemezov, clarified the fate of anti-aircraft guided missiles that Russia was supposed to deliver to China
The Basmanny Court of Moscow arrested Michael Calvey, the founder of Baring Vostok investment fund, on allegations of embezzling 2.5 billion rubles from Vostochny Bank. Calvey will be held in custody until April 13