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European Parliament urges ‘criteria’ for Russia to avoid new sanctions

September 18, 2014, 14:56 UTC+3 STRASBOURG

The EP suggests that the European Union "study the question of denying the Russian Federation partnership in the field of atom-for-peace and disconnecting Russia from the SWIFT settlements system"

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STRASBOURG, September 18. /ITAR-TASS/. The European Union should formulate specific “benchmarks” for Moscow to avoid a next round of sanctions or for the current sanctions to be lifted, the European Parliament’s resolution on the situation in Ukraine and the EU’s relations with Russia approved at a plenary session in Strasbourg on Thursday says.

The resolution says member states and the European External Action Service (EEAS) should “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 and verification of the ceasefire regime and the restoration of Kiev’s control over the entire territory.

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 believes that the EU has to “rethink its relations with Russia, abandon the strategic partnership concept and find a new, unified approach.”

The European Parliament has called on the EU to “consider excluding Russia from civil nuclear cooperation and the Swift [banking transaction] system.” The document also suggests that the member states should “cancel planned agreements with Russia in the energy sector, including the South Stream gas pipeline.”

Monitors of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) should be deployed along the militia-controlled parts of the Russian-Ukrainian border, the European Parliament’s resolution says.

The European Parliament also hailed Kiev's plans to hold early parliamentary elections to the Verkhovna Rada, the country's parliament, on October 26 and called on the Ukrainian authorities to “ensure free and fair elections.”

The European Parliament has advised the Ukrainian authorities to take steps to promote trust between various communities in society and their eventual reconciliation. The European legislators noted the importance of establishing an inclusive national dialogue, avoiding propaganda and hate statements and speeches, which may only “aggravate the conflict.”

The EP noted in the resolution that Ukraine’s laws on special status for some districts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions and on amnesty adopted by the parliament on September 16 are an “an important contribution to de-escalation.”

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.

"EU should study the question of disconnecting Russia from SWIFT"

Infographics Economical sanctions against Russia

Economical sanctions against Russia

The USA, EU, Canada and Australia have introduced sanctions against Russia over its involvement in the Ukrainian crisis. Infographics by ITAR-TASS
The EP suggests that the European Union "study the question of denying the Russian Federation partnership in the field of atom-for-peace and disconnecting Russia from the SWIFT settlements system", says a European Parliament resolution on the situation in Ukraine and the relationship between the EU and Russia. The Resolution has been approved by EP Members at a plenary session in Strasbourg on Thursday.

Incidentally, for a settlement of the gas dispute, the EP requested that "trilateral talks on gas deliveries to Ukraine be continued to find a way to restore them". At the same time, the Resolution points out that EU member-countries must "abrogate the planned agreements with Russia in the energy sector, including renunciation of the South Stream gas pipeline.

In the opinion of EP members, the community in general must "reconsider its relations with Russia by giving up the concept of strategic partnership and finding new unifying approaches".

The European Union, the document points out, must formulate a "clear-cut package of criteria, in the implementation of which it will be possible to avoid applying new sanctions against Russia or lift the already applied ones.

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