MEPs commend Ukraine's reform efforts and denounce Russian aggression
Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have commended Ukraine's reform efforts and denounced Russian aggression in their recent resolution on Ukraine.
The European Parliament adopted a resolution by 433 votes to 105, with 30 abstentions, evaluating the latest developments related to the EU-Ukraine association agreement, which entered into force in 2017, the European Parliament said on its website.
MEPs stress that Ukraine has reformed in areas such as energy, health, pensions, education, public administration and decentralisation, and also when it comes to defence and security, banking and macro-economic stabilisation. These reforms, however, have unfortunately been accompanied by drastic price increases, cuts in social benefits and a deterioration in access to social welfare systems.
MEPs praise Ukraine for good cooperation in the energy sector and its achievements in the areas of energy efficiency and renewables, while pointing out the need to continue to reform, particularly in the gas and electricity market. With Ukraine playing a crucial role in the European energy supply network, MEPs condemn the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline which bypasses Ukraine, "as it is a political project that poses a threat to European energy security." They therefore call for it to be cancelled.
The resolution further underlines that Ukraine should prioritise the fight against corruption, address the problems with oligarch power and continue with decentralisation reforms. MEPs regret that the existing judicial system still remains ineffective, corrupt and politically dependent, yet support the ongoing efforts to address this issue. Judges and prosecutors have to be selected in a more transparent and highly reliable manner, says the text.
MEPs strongly condemn Russia's recent aggression against Ukraine on November 25 in the Kerch Strait, and demand the immediate and unconditional release of all Ukrainian vessels and sailors. They are seriously concerned that the tension may constitute a creeping attempt to annex Ukraine's sovereign rights in the Sea of Azov. Russia therefore has to guarantee the freedom of navigation through the Kerch Strait and in the Sea of Azov.
The resolution calls on the EU and its member states to introduce targeted sanctions against Russia if the Ukrainian servicemen are not released and if there is any further military escalation.