EP retains sanctions against Russia, further tightening possible

The European Parliament has sent a strong political signal in support for Ukraine and called for the continuation and possible strengthening of sanctions against Russia.

This is stated in the resolution, adopted by the EU legislative body on situation in Ukraine on Thursday, an Ukrinform correspondent has reported from Strasbourg.

"The European Parliament expresses its full solidarity with the Ukrainian people, once again declaring its loyalty to the independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity, inviolability of borders and the European choice of Ukraine," reads the document.

MEPs believe that the EU should lend support to the Ukrainian authorities in order to strengthen defense capabilities and protect the external borders of Ukraine, including through the supply of non-lethal equipment.

MEPs strongly condemned Russia's "aggressive and expansionist policy" and "the acts of terrorism and criminal behaviour committed by the separatists and other irregular forces in Eastern Ukraine".

"The European Parliament strongly condemns aggressive and expansionist policy of Russia, which poses a threat to the unity and independence of Ukraine, as well as poses a potential threat to the EU itself. This embraces illegal annexation of the Crimea, conduct of hybrid undeclared war against Ukraine, including information war with elements of cyber-warfare, use of regular and irregular forces, propaganda, economic pressure, energy blackmail, diplomatic and political instability and so on," reads the resolution.

The EP urged to maintain current EU sanctions against Russia and approve “benchmarks” for lifting them. These should include respecting the ceasefire, unconditional withdrawal of Russian troops and illegal armed groups, exchanging all prisoners, including Nadiya Savchenko, and restoring Ukraine's control over its whole territory, including Crimea.

"In case Russia carries out any further actions to destabilize Ukraine, the European Parliament urges the European Council to implement the restrictive measures by extending their scope, including in the nuclear field, as well as by limiting the possibility for Russian companies to conduct international financial transactions," reads the document.

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