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Russian lawmaker says European Parliament’s resolution ‘provocative’

September 18, 2014, 17:48 UTC+3 MOSCOW

"After having faced the resistance of a whole range of states against that sanctions package, which was adopted last week, the EU is now not ready to adopt another package," Alexei Pushkov added

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Alexei Pushkov

Alexei Pushkov

© ITAR-TASS/Sergei Fadeichev

MOSCOW, September 18. /ITAR-TASS/. The European Parliament’s resolution, adopted at a plenary session in Strasbourg on Thursday, is “provocative” as it is pushing the 28-member bloc towards new sanctions against Russia which are not yet being discussed, a senior Russian lawmaker has said.

“I believe these efforts by members of the European Parliament to put the cart before the horse need to be condemned because they in fact are pushing the European Union to even harsher measures,” the head of Russia's State Duma foreign affairs committee, Alexei Pushkov, told ITAR-TASS.

“Meanwhile, as I understand, after having faced the resistance of a whole range of states against that sanctions package, which was adopted last week, the EU is now not ready to adopt another package,” Pushkov said.

“That’s why this resolution is of a provocative character,” he stressed. “This resolution is not timely because as far as I know, the European Union is not considering another package of sanctions now,” Pushkov added.

Brussels is expected to soon “make conclusions from the process that has started in southeastern Ukraine and negotiations that are currently being held between the EU, Ukraine and Russia on the future of trade ties,” he said.

Fyodor Lukyanov, who chairs Russia’s Council on Foreign and Defense Policy, told Itar-Tass that Thursday’s resolution is not expected to have a practical importance or consequences as this is not guidance for the governments to follow. However, the document reflects the atmosphere in Europe, which Russia needs to take into consideration.

In the resolution, the European Parliament called on the EU member-states to “adopt a clear set of benchmarks which, when achieved, could prevent adoption of the new restrictive measures against Russia or lead to the lifting of the previous ones.”

These benchmarks should include: ending the supply of arms and equipment to militia, full respect for the ceasefire regime, establishment of effective international control, verification of the ceasefire regime and the restoration of Kiev’s control over the entire territory, the document said.

The European legislators call on the European Council and member states “not to consider lifting any sanction before these conditions are met and to remain ready to impose further sanctions for any actions undertaken by Russia to undermine the ceasefire agreement or to further escalate the tensions in Ukraine.”

The EP said it believes that the European Union also has to “rethink its relations with Russia, abandon the strategic partnership concept and find a new, unified approach.” The resolution suggests that the EU should consider excluding Russia from the Swift banking transaction system and cancelling planned agreements with Moscow in the energy sector, including the South Stream pipeline project.

Since March, the United States and the European Union have imposed several rounds of sanctions against Moscow over its stance on the conflict in Ukraine. Moscow has responded by introducing a one-year ban on imports of selected foods from sanctioning countries (the EU, US and several others).

In mid-September, Brussels introduced further sanctions, for the first time targeting directly the financing of the state-owned oil sector, which is crucial to the Russian economy. Washington similarly strengthened its sanctions, adding Russia’s Gazprom, Europe’s leading energy provider, to the list of targeted companies.

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