European Parliament praises Ukraine’s reforms, condemns Russian aggression in the Sea of Azov and calls for release of Ukrainians prisoners
The Ukrainian World Congress (UWC) welcomes the European Parliament’s resolution commending Ukraine‘s reform efforts and denouncing Russian aggression. The resolution, which considered input from the UWC, was adopted during a European Parliament session in Strasbourg on 12 December 2018. The document praises the recent reform accomplishments of Ukraine under the Association Agreement, condemns the Russian aggression against Ukraine in the Sea of Azov, and calls for the cancellation of the Nord Stream 2 project.
First, the European Parliament recognized positive reforms in a number of sectors in Ukraine, including energy, healthcare, pension and education systems, public administration and decentralization. Achievements have also been noted in the areas of defence and security, banking and macro-economic stabilization, albeit at some social costs for Ukrainians. While admitting the genuine progress of Ukrainian reforms, the European Parliament called on Ukraine to intensify its judiciary reform and fight against corruption.
Second, the Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) acknowledged Ukraine’s crucial role in the supply network of European energy and condemned the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. They further stated that the pipeline construction is politically motivated and likely to jeopardize European energy security.
Third, the MEPs expressed their strong condemnation of the most recent act of aggression by the Russian Federation against Ukrainian ships in the Kerch Strait and characterized it as “a creeping attempt to annex Ukraine’s sovereign rights in the Sea of Azov”. In connection with that, the resolution calls on the EU and its member states to introduce additional sanctions against the Russian Federation if the captured Ukrainian sailors are not released and in the case of further military escalation. One of the proposed measures includes closing access to EU ports for Russian ships originating in the Sea of Azov.
On 12 December 2018, the European Parliament also called for the immediate and unconditional release of Crimean filmmaker and writer Oleg Sentsov, who was awarded the Sakharov Prize by the European Parliament during a ceremony in Strasbourg. Just as 70 other Ukrainian political prisoners, over 100 hostages, and 24 captured Ukrainian sailors, he continues to be illegally kept in prison by the Russian Federation.
“The Ukrainian World Congress welcomes the European Parliament’s resolution noting reform progress in Ukraine,” stated UWC President Paul Grod. “We call on the EU to continue its firm support of Ukraine’s European integration and territorial integrity in the face of ongoing Russian aggression.”