European Parliament's leaders adopt statement in support of Ukraine
The leaders of the European Parliament adopted a statement on the situation in Ukraine, condemning the unprecedented military aggression by Russia and demanding that Russia withdraw its troops from the Ukrainian border in full.
The text of the statement adopted by the Conference of Presidents, which includes the President of the European Parliament and leaders of political groups, was released on Wednesday.
"Ukraine faces the threat of an unprecedented military aggression by the Russian Federation. This is not only a threat to the security of Ukraine and the safety of its people. It is also a threat to Ukraine's prosperous democratic and economic development, to the rules-based international order, and to the security of Europe as a whole," the leaders of the European Parliament said in the statement.
In this regard, they condemned the Russian military buildup in and around Ukraine and the threat of a military aggression against Ukraine.
"This military build-up, at the border with Ukraine, in Belarus, in illegally annexed Crimea, in the Black Sea, as well as in the unrecognized separatist entities of Donetsk and Luhansk, is a direct threat to Ukraine's security," the leaders said, recalling that the threat of force goes against to the UN Charter and the fundamental principles of international law.
"We are united in our demand that the Russian Federation cease its military threat and its attempts at destabilization and immediately and fully withdraw its forces and military equipment from the borders of Ukraine to the places of the original dislocation," they said.
The leaders of the European Parliament reiterated their unwavering support for the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders.
"We strongly believe that any country's choice of alliances must not be subject to a third country’s approval. We stand behind diplomatic efforts by European leaders to defuse tensions and we urge Russia to contribute to immediate de-escalation," the leaders said in the statement.
In addition, the leaders of the European Parliament confirmed their firm intention to support "a robust response should Russia continue not to abide by its international commitments and obligations and launch an attack against Ukraine."
"We reiterate our call on the Council of the European Union to remain prepared to swiftly adopt severe economic and financial sanctions against the Russian Federation in close coordination with transatlantic and other like-minded partners. Such sanctions should include the exclusion of Russia from the SWIFT system, individual sanctions against individuals close to the Russian President and their families, entailing the freezing of financial and physical assets in the EU and travel bans. We reiterate our call for an immediate halt to the Nord Stream 2 project should Russia launch an attack against Ukraine," the officials said.
The leaders of the European Parliament expressed "undivided solidarity with the people of Ukraine."
"More than 14,000 people have already lost their lives in a tragic conflict in eastern Ukraine that was ignited by Russia and is being kept alive by Russian-backed so-called separatists. We resolutely reject the continuous Russian attempts to destabilize Ukraine, including the possible recognition of the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk entities, and preventing the country from moving forward on its path towards democracy and prosperity," the leaders said in the statement.
The leaders of the European Parliament also assured that stand united behind Ukraine's efforts towards democratic reform, economic prosperity and social progress.
"We believe that these efforts deserve the strongest possible support. We therefore call on the EU and its Member States to continue providing political support, economic help, and macro financial and technical assistance wherever needed, including in defence and security-related areas, and to develop a long-term strategy to support Ukraine’s efforts in strengthening the resilience of its democratic institutions and economy," they said.
In addition, the statement calls on Ukraine to "remain united and steadfast in its comprehensive reforms in line with commitments made as part of the EU Association Agreement and the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area."
"We call for the EU institutions to maintain a credible long-term perspective for Ukraine's EU accession in line with Article 49 TEU, as for any European state, and to work towards a merit-based acceleration of gradual integration into the EU Single Market, as foreseen in the Association Agreement. Only Ukrainians can decide about the path their country should take to the future. We will support their democratic rights, fundamental freedoms and human rights as well as the country's choice for a European future in freedom, democracy, peace and security," the leaders of the European Parliament said.