Europe's relations with Russia to normalize ‘only after return of Crimea to Ukraine’
The European Parliament has said that relations between the EU and Russia will normalize only after Russia fulfills its commitments under the Minsk Agreements and returns control of Crimea to Ukraine.
This is stated in the resolution on the strategic military situation in the Black Sea Basin following the illegal annexation of Crimea by Russia, adopted on Thursday by the European Parliament.
The EP stressed that relations with Russia should in the long term be focused on cooperation, not confrontation, but believes that due to lack of confidence in Russia the resumption of cooperation in the short to medium term should be based: firstly, on strategic NATO guarantees of the security of its Eastern member states, and secondly, on a change in Russia's policy towards Ukraine, in particular, full and unconditional compliance with the Minsk Agreements and return of Crimea to Ukraine, and, therefore, the restoration of the status quo and control of the Ukrainian government over the country’s territory within the international recognized borders, according to the resolution.
In this regard, MEPs expressed their conviction that the EU would maintain and strengthen sanctions against the Russian Federation should the Russian authorities fail to fulfill the Minsk Agreements and continue their destabilization of the situation in the east of Ukraine and the illegal annexation of the Crimea. Therefore, MEPs call on EU member states to maintain unity on the issue of anti-Russian sanctions.
In addition, the European Parliament condemned Russia for providing direct and indirect support to the separatist groups in Ukraine, in the form of weapons and recruitment, which "thereby facilitates the continuation of war."
"[The EP] is concerned by reports of war crimes committed in the region controlled by Russia-backed separatists, including the shooting down of the Flight MH17 civilian passenger plane, and urges Russia to withdraw all its military forces from Ukrainian territory immediately and to adhere to the Minsk Agreements," the resolution reads.
The European Parliament also called on Russia and all parties to "halt hostilities and prevent further war crimes and new victims."
"[The EP] expresses hope that the Minsk ceasefire agreement reached on February 12, 2015 will hold and, in so doing, provide the time for a negotiated political solution; [but it] is concerned by the numerous indications of violations of the agreement by the Russian side and the separatists," the document reads.