BRUSSELS, March 1. /TASS/. Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) almost unanimously approved a resolution condemning Russia's military operation in Ukraine and calling for tough sanctions against Moscow, including restriction of oil and gas imports from Russia and disconnecting the country from SWIFT.
The deputies also asked EU institutions and EU member states to work on granting Ukraine the status of a candidate for membership in the EU, as well as to prepare a multi-billion dollar plan to help that country.
The vote on the document took place on Tuesday at an emergency plenary session of the European Parliament in Brussels. During the session President of Ukraine Vladimir Zelensky addressed the deputies via video link
"The European Parliament condemns in the strongest possible terms the Russian Federation’s illegal, unprovoked and unjustified military aggression against and invasion of Ukraine, as well as the involvement of Belarus in this aggression," according to the resolution, which is recommendatory in nature.
The members of the European Parliament called on the EU to impose new tough sanctions against Russia, which in particular should be "aimed at strategically weakening the Russian economy and industrial base, in particular the military-industrial complex, and thereby the ability of the Russian Federation to threaten international security in the future."
The MEPs also stressed that "the Russian Federation bears the responsibility for the destruction of Ukrainian infrastructure, including civilian and residential buildings, as well as the significant economic losses, and will be required to compensate the damage caused by its aggressive actions."
Disconnecting from SWIFT
MEPs called on the European Union to completely disconnect Russia and Belarus from SWIFT in connection with the special military operation of Russia in Ukraine.
"The European parliament calls <> for the Russian Federation and Belarus to be banned from the SWIFT system and for secondary sanctions to be imposed on banks using alternative means to SWIFT for related transactions."
Earlier, the EU already decided to disconnect several Russian banks from SWIFT. This decision will soon be approved and will come into force. The EU countries have not yet agreed to completely disconnect Russia from this system.
Restricting oil and gas imports, closing ports
MEPs called on the European Union to restrict oil and gas imports from Russia, as well as close all community ports to Russian ships.
"The European Parliament calls, in particular, for the import of the most important Russian export goods, including oil and gas, to be restricted," the document says.
The MEPs also called "for EU ports to be closed to Russian ships" and "for access to all EU ports to be refused for ships whose last or next port of call is in the Russian Federation, except in the case of necessary justified humanitarian reasons".
Reducing number of Russia’s representative offices
The European Parliament "calls for the EU and Member States "to reduce the number of Russian diplomatic and consular representations in EU and Member States, in particular, and immediately where their actions involve the military."
Terminating software licenses
The European Parliament "calls for the EU and the Member States to terminate the software licenses for military and civilian equipment in Russia and Belarus, especially those used for communication and satellite navigation," the document says.
EU candidate status and assistance to Ukraine
The European Parliament "calls for the EU institutions to work towards granting EU candidate status to Ukraine, in line with Article 49 of the Treaty on European Union and on the basis of merit, and, in the meantime, to continue to work towards its integration into the EU single market along the lines of the Association Agreement," the resolution says.
The MEPs also called on the EU its Member States "to prepare a multi-billion euro assistance and recovery plan for Ukraine to support the Ukrainian economy and the reconstruction of its destroyed infrastructure."
Russia’s military operation
Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a televised address on February 24 that in response to a request by the heads of the Donbass republics he had made a decision to carry out a special military operation in order to protect people "who have been suffering from abuse and genocide by the Kiev regime for eight years." The Russian leader stressed that Moscow had no plans of occupying Ukrainian territories.
When clarifying the developments unfolding, the Russian Defense Ministry reassured that Russian troops are not targeting Ukrainian cities, but are limited to surgically striking and incapacitating Ukrainian military infrastructure. There are no threats whatsoever to the civilian population.
After that, the U.S., the EU, the UK and a number of other states announced that they would impose sanctions against Russian legal entities and individuals.