The EU must re-assess its relations with Russia and create a plan to counter the country’s “aggressive and divisive policies”, MEPs have said.
On Wednesday a resolution put forward by Lithuanian MEP Gabrielius Landsbergis, was passed by the European Parliament 494 votes to 135, with 69 abstentions.
It stated that relations between the nations had been “profoundly damaged by Russia's deliberate violation of democratic principles, fundamental values and international law with its violent action and destabilisation of its neighbors”.
Landsbergis, of the The European People's Party (Christian Democrats), said: “With its aggression against Ukraine and annexation of Crimea, the Russian leadership has put our relations at a crossroads. “It is up to the Kremlin to decide now which way it will go – cooperation or deepening alienation. I am convinced that the Russian people, as all of us, want peace, not war. A change in Russia can, and will, come from within.”
He added: “Meanwhile we must send a strong message to the Russian leadership that we stand united with the victims of its aggression and those who stand for the values the EU is founded on.”
MEP also said that member states must maintain their unity towards Russia in the context of the annexation of Crimea, and said EU countries should refrain from doing deals with the country.
Parliament also called the Commission to provide funding to combat Russian propaganda and miss information and to create a “robust, rules-based European Energy Union”.
MEPs say that in the long run, “a constructive and predictable relationship between the EU and Russia is desirable for their mutual benefit”, but said cooperation can only resume if Russia respects the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine, including Crimea and implements the Minsk agreements.
Editor: H. Wright, S. Tambur