Ukrainian Defence Minister to brief European Parliament on war (LIVE)

war

Ukraine’s Minister of Defence Oleksii Reznikov is scheduled to meet with the European Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee and Security and Defence Subcommittee tomorrow, Thursday 17 March 2022.

Minister Oleksii Reznikov, who will participate remotely, will brief MEPs on the latest developments and the impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Members of the European Parliament’s EU-Ukraine delegation will also join the meeting.

When: Thursday, 17 March, from 9.00 to 10.30.
Where: European Parliament in Brussels, SPINELLI 3 E 2, and remotely.

Greek City Times readers can follow the discussion LIVE HERE.

Check the full meeting agenda.

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Ukraine’s Minister of Defence Oleksii Reznikov.

In a resolution adopted on 1 March (see below) , Parliament condemned in the strongest possible terms Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine and demanded the Kremlin end all military activities in the country and unconditionally withdraw all forces in respect of Ukraine’s internationally recognised borders. MEPs called for broader restrictive measures aimed at strategically weakening Russia’s economy and industrial base. The resolution also strongly supports the historic decision to allocate significant additional funding to provide Ukraine with defensive weapons through the European Peace Facility and the provision of military equipment by Member States.


European Parliament resolution of 1 March 2022 on the Russian aggression against Ukraine (2022/2564(RSP))

The European Parliament,

– having regard to its previous resolutions on Russia and Ukraine, and in particular that of 16 December 2021 on the situation at the Ukrainian border and in Russian-occupied territories of Ukraine(1),

– having regard to the statements on Ukraine by the European Parliament’s leaders of 16 and 24 February 2022,

– having regard to the declaration by the High Representative on behalf of the EU of 24 February 2022 on the invasion of Ukraine by the armed forces of the Russian Federation,

– having regard to the statements by the President of the European Council and the President of the Commission of 24 February 2022 on Russia’s unprecedented and unprovoked military aggression against Ukraine,

– having regard to the recent statements by the President of Ukraine and the President of the Commission on the situation in Ukraine,

– having regard to the G7 statement of 24 February 2022,

– having regard to the Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances of 1994,

– having regard to the Nuremberg principles developed by the International Law Commission of the United Nations, which determine what constitutes a war crime,

– having regard to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court of 17 July 1998,

– having regard to the European Council conclusions of 24 February 2022,

– having regard to the Charter of the United Nations,

– having regard to the Helsinki Final Act of 1 August 1975 and subsequent documents,

– having regard to Rule 132(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas, in line with the UN Charter and the principles of international law, all states enjoy equal sovereignty and shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state;

B. whereas the Russian Federation launched an unprovoked and unjustified invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022;

C. whereas the military aggression against Ukraine was launched in part from the territory of Belarus, which assisted and enabled the Russian aggression; whereas the illegitimate president of Belarus has just held a fabricated referendum in order to amend the constitution and impair Belarus’s neutrality; whereas the presence of Russian nuclear weapons on Belarusian territory would be a threat to the security of Europe;

D. whereas on 21 February 2022, the Russian Federation unilaterally recognised the independence of territories controlled by Russian-backed separatist forces in parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine, which effectively derailed the Minsk Agreements; whereas the actions of the Russian Federation constitute a premeditated military aggression in blatant violation of international law, the UN Charter and the principles enshrined in the Helsinki Final Act of 1975, and seriously undermine European and global security and stability;

E. whereas Ukraine’s armed forces under the command of President Volodymyr Zelenskyi have maintained control over almost the entire territory of Ukraine, including its capital Kyiv and the southern regions of the country, preventing the Russian invaders from achieving any of their pre-determined objectives, including the elimination of the democratically elected Ukrainian leadership;

F. whereas the Russian Federation has deliberately misled and derailed diplomatic efforts to find a solution to the current crisis, which is of its own making, in order to gain the time and tactical advantage needed to prepare a full-scale military aggression against and invasion of Ukraine;

G. whereas the Council of the European Union has adopted an initial series of sanctions against Russia, including targeted individual sanctions, economic and financial sanctions and trade restrictions, and continues to prepare further sanctions in close coordination with transatlantic allies and other like-minded international partners;

H. whereas on 27 February 2022, the Commission President made a statement on the current and future state of relations with Ukraine, in which she said: ‘[...] they belong to us. They are one of us and we want them in’; whereas an ever-growing number of Ukrainian civilians are losing their lives in the war waged by the Kremlin against the population of Ukraine; whereas hundreds have been wounded and several hundred thousand have left their homes or have fled to neighbouring countries; whereas there have been reports of numerous violations of international humanitarian law committed by Russian troops, including indiscriminate shelling of living areas, hospitals and kindergartens, the plundering of public and private property, and wanton destruction of civilian infrastructure; whereas more than 14 000 people, both military personnel and civilians, have lost their lives in eight years of a conflict fomented by the Russian Federation in eastern Ukraine, while the livelihoods of the population of the Russian-controlled and annexed territories in Ukraine and the surrounding regions continue to be severely affected;

1. 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;

2. Demands that the Russian Federation immediately terminate all military activities in Ukraine, unconditionally withdraw all military and paramilitary forces and military equipment from the entire internationally recognised territory of Ukraine, and fully respect Ukraine’s territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence within its internationally recognised borders;

3. Underlines that the military aggression and invasion constitute a serious violation of international law, and in particular the UN Charter, and calls on the Russian Federation to return to fulfilling the responsibilities of a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council in maintaining peace and security and to respecting its commitments under the Helsinki Final Act, the Charter of Paris for a New Europe and the Budapest Memorandum; considers the Russian invasion in Ukraine an attack not only against a sovereign country but also against the principles and mechanism of cooperation and security in Europe and the rules-based international order, as defined by the UN Charter;

4. Firmly condemns the Russian military’s use of Belarusian territory, with the support of Belarusian forces, to launch a military aggression against Ukraine, and expresses deep concern about the risks posed by Belarus abandoning its neutrality and hosting the Russian military;

5. Expresses its undivided solidarity with the people of Ukraine, who have already suffered through eight years of war in their country, and condemns in the strongest possible terms Russia’s actions against Ukraine;

6. Pays tribute to the tremendous courage shown by the people of Ukraine, their heroic president Volodymyr Zelenskyi and the brave soldiers who are defending their country against the Russian invaders; calls on the free world to support their struggle for peace and freedom with all means at its disposal;

7. Urges continued diplomatic efforts to stop the Russian aggression against Ukraine and find a peaceful solution based on respect for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and the principles of international law, as well as Ukraine’s right to decide on future alliances without external interference; urges the Russian Federation to return to the path of dialogue and diplomacy in order to save the people in Ukraine and beyond, as well as its own people, from the scourge of war;

8. Denounces the unilateral recognition by the Russian Federation of the independence of the Russian-occupied areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine and urges all countries to refrain from joining it in this recognition; reiterates that the EU does not recognise and continues to condemn the illegal annexation of Crimea as a violation of international law and remains committed to fully implementing its non-recognition policy, including through restrictive measures and cooperation in international forums;

9. Categorically rejects the Russian rhetoric hinting at the possible resort to weapons of mass destruction, in the context of an already deteriorated and eroded global non-proliferation, disarmament and arms control architecture; reminds the Russian Federation of its international obligations and warns of the dangers of a nuclear escalation of the conflict; expresses concern about the Russian Federation raising the level of alert of its nuclear arsenal; reminds the Russian Federation that any provocations at the border of any Member State or attacks on vessels in the Black Sea basin may lead to further escalation of the conflict;

10. Expresses its inconsolable grief at the tragic loss of life and human suffering caused by the Russian aggression and stresses that attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure as well as indiscriminate attacks are prohibited under international humanitarian law and therefore constitute war crimes;

11. Stresses the need to place a special emphasis on vulnerable groups, minorities, and women and children, since they are particularly affected in conflict situations and need special protection and support, in particular children in institutional care, unaccompanied children, and children with disabilities and other serious illnesses, including childhood cancers, and highlights the need to ensure that they continue to receive the necessary care and life-saving treatment and are immediately evacuated to safety;

12. Calls on the Commission and the Member States to provide further emergency humanitarian assistance to Ukraine in cooperation with UN humanitarian agencies and other international partner organisations; urges the Russian Federation to grant safe and unimpeded access for UN humanitarian agencies, including in the temporarily non-government-controlled areas of eastern Ukraine;

13. Welcomes the commitment by the Commission and the French Presidency of the Council to activate the Temporary Protection Directive(2) in order to provide immediate access to protection to all refugees from Ukraine; urges the Member States to approve this proposal at the Justice and Home Affairs Council on 4 March 2022; urges the Council to equally divide the responsibility for the reception of the refugees who arrive at the EU’s external borders among the Member States; calls on the Commission to establish a solidarity mechanism to relocate refugees from Ukraine who have arrived in Poland, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia to other Member States and calls for an EU-wide halt on return operations to Ukraine; calls on the Member States to prolong the visas of Ukrainian students and other Ukrainian visa holders;

14. Welcomes the active approach of the governments of Poland, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Slovakia and Moldova in keeping their borders open and providing means of evacuation, shelter, emergency assistance, medical assistance and asylum to people fleeing the war in Ukraine and prospective persecution, including both Ukrainian and non-Ukrainian nationals; calls on the Council and the Commission to provide extra funding for these countries as they are the primary points of entry of Ukrainian refugees to the EU; calls on the Council and the Commission not to suspend the visa waiver agreement with Ukraine; calls on all Member States to admit non-Ukrainian nationals fleeing the conflict and war as conscientious objectors from Russia; reminds all Member States of their responsibility to respect the fundamental rights of all asylum-seekers seeking safety in the Union, irrespective of their nationalities, and to stop push-backs; condemns the racism experienced by African and Middle Eastern students who have been prevented from boarding buses and trains in Ukraine to reach the border or stopped at the border and thus prevented from seeking safety;

15. Welcomes the swift adoption of sanctions by the Council with the aim of persuading the Russian Federation to cease its attacks against Ukraine; insists, however, in light of the latest attacks, including those against residential areas and civilian infrastructure, on the need to adopt additional severe sanctions;

16. Calls for the scope of sanctions to be broadened and for the sanctions to 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, as well as for the sanctions to be extended to Belarus based on its direct support to the Russian invasion of Ukraine;

17. Calls, in particular, for the import of the most important Russian export goods, including oil and gas, to be restricted, for new EU investment in the Russian Federation as well as new Russian investment in the EU to be banned, for all Russian banks to be blocked from the European financial system, 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 or for similar sanctions to those against Russian banks or the banking system to be imposed, and calls for it to be prohibited to raise funds or borrow on European markets from secondary capital markets; calls for access to EU public procurement to be banned for the purchase of goods and services originating from Russia and Belarus; calls for the export of any high-tech products and strategic goods to the Russian market to be banned; calls for funding for all research and innovation cooperation programs with Russia supported with EU funds to be immediately blocked or withdrawn and for interregional programmes to be suspended; calls for EU ports to be closed to Russian ships; calls for the Russian-controlled investment funds and banks such as the International Investment Bank to be immediately banned from operating in the EU; calls 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; welcomes the ban on flights by Russian carriers as well as flights by private Russian planes in EU airspace; calls for the adoption and appropriate application of similar sanctions on Belarus;

18. Highlights the need to maintain a coherent approach towards sanctions without any exemptions induced by sectoral or national interests; emphasises the need for Member States to acknowledge and accept that severe sanctions against the Russian Federation will unavoidably entail negative effects on their economic situation and calls on the Commission to identify and facilitate means and ways to address the economic and social consequences of the sanctions;

19. Stresses that everything must be done to bring Russia back to the negotiating table; recalls that the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, as a regional arrangement under Chapter VIII of the UN Charter, remains the organisation of first resort for the peaceful settlement of disputes in the region; calls for the use of UN crisis resolution mechanisms; calls on the EU, its Member States and the United States to continue their diplomatic efforts to bring the war in Ukraine to an end;

20. Calls for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire; demands that channels of communication with Russia remain open and that the parties concerned be prepared for dialogue and negotiations until a ceasefire is in force and the war ended;

21. Insists that all future sanctions must continue to be closely coordinated with transatlantic allies and like-minded international partners in order to maximise their effectiveness;

22. Reiterates its previous calls to significantly reduce energy dependence, in particular on Russian gas, oil and coal, by, inter alia, diversifying energy sources, including expanding liquefied natural gas terminals and supply routes, unbundling gas storage, and increasing energy efficiency and the speed of the clean energy transition; calls for the Nord Stream 2 pipeline to be definitively abandoned and therefore welcomes the decision of the German Government to halt the certification of Nord Stream 2; calls on the Commission and the Member States to create a coordination mechanism and to use all possible gas depositories in order to ensure uninterrupted gas supply across the EU; calls on the Member States, the Commission and the European Central Bank to carefully monitor the impact of the Russian attack on financial stability and the stability of prices, especially in relation to energy products, and to consider appropriate measures to mitigate any negative economic and social impact; calls on the Member States to stop any collaboration with Russia in the nuclear field, in particular cooperation with Rosatom and its subsidiaries, including cooperation with Russia in the International Atomic Energy Agency and the termination or removal of operating licences for all Rosatom subsidiaries; underlines that the sanctions might have a specific impact on European households and that they should not pay the price of this crisis; calls therefore on the Member States to prepare plans and subsidies for households to avoid the deepening of the energy crisis;

23. Calls for the existing EU global sanction regime to be complemented with an instrument dedicated to fighting corruption and for the speedy adoption of targeted sanctions against individuals responsible for high-level corruption in Russia and Belarus as well as oligarchs and officials close to the leadership; calls on the Member States and allied countries with residence by investment schemes to review all beneficiaries of such residence status and to revoke those attributed to Russian high-net-worth individuals and their families, in particular those linked to sanctioned individuals and companies; reiterates its call on the Commission and the Member States to consistently implement and enforce existing anti-money laundering rules and create greater transparency, especially in relation to the funds deposited or spent in the EU by the Russian elite; reiterates its call to freeze the assets in the EU of oligarchs close to the Russian leadership and of their families and to cancel their Schengen visas;

24. Reiterates that NATO is the foundation of collective defence for the Member States who are NATO allies; welcomes the unity between the EU, NATO and other like-minded democratic partners in facing the Russian aggression, but underlines the need to increase its collective deterrence posture, preparedness and resilience; encourages the strengthening of NATO’s enhanced forward presence in the Member States geographically closest to the Russian aggressor and to the conflict; highlights the EU’s mutual assistance and solidarity clauses and calls for common military exercises to be launched;

25. Stresses that this attack requires the EU and NATO to prepare for all possibilities; welcomes, in that regard, the activation of NATO’s defence plans as well as the activation of the NATO response forces and their partial deployment, in addition to troop deployments from NATO allies including the UK, the US and Canada, in order to strengthen the eastern flank and deter any further Russian aggression; reiterates its call for the Member States to increase defence spending and ensure more effective capabilities and to make full use of the joint defence efforts within the European framework, notably the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) and the European Defence Fund, in order to strengthen the European pillar within NATO, which will increase the security of NATO countries and Member States alike;

26. Firmly condemns the threats made by the Russian Federation against Member States who are not NATO allies and invites the latter to deliberate their options to increase their security; supports their sovereign right to choose their security policies; welcomes the close coordination between NATO and partner countries Finland and Sweden;

27. Calls for contributions towards strengthening Ukraine’s defence capacities to be increased; strongly supports the historic decision to allocate significant additional funding to provide Ukraine with defensive weapons through the European Peace Facility and the provision of military equipment by Member States; calls for this new decision, as well as the assistance measures provided to Ukraine under the European Peace Facility of 2 December 2021, which include the financing of military medical units, including field hospitals, engineering, mobility and logistics units, as well as support on cyber-security, to be immediately and fully implemented; calls on the European External Action Service and the Member States to facilitate a swift and efficient implementation of those decisions;

28. Calls on Member States to accelerate the provision of defensive weapons to Ukraine in response to clearly identified needs and in line with Article 51 of the UN Charter, which allows for individual and collective self-defence, to increase intelligence cooperation with Ukraine regarding the ongoing aggression and to share satellite images through SatCen and other satellite systems;

29. Acknowledges the decision taken to transfer personnel of the EU’s civilian common security and defence policy mission (EU Advisory Mission) outside Ukraine with a view to guaranteeing personal safety and calls for special attention to be given to the safety of local staff; calls for an urgent reassessment of the mission’s mandate and for it to be updated with a military training component; supports the strengthening of the EU Border Assistance Mission to Moldova and Ukraine (EUBAM) at the border between Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova/Transnistria;

30. Insists on the need for the EU, NATO and like-minded international partners to step up their cybersecurity assistance to Ukraine; welcomes the initial deployment of the PESCO-funded Cyber Rapid Response Team (CRRT) experts and calls for full use of the EU cyber sanctions regime against individuals, entities and bodies responsible or involved in the various cyber-attacks targeting Ukraine; calls for the urgent review of Ukraine’s application to the NATO Cooperation Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (CCDCOE) and for all CCDCOE members to support the application;

31. Condemns the use of information warfare by Russian authorities, state media and proxies to create division with denigrating content and false narratives about the EU, NATO and Ukraine, with the aim of creating plausible deniability for the Russian atrocities; calls on all Member States therefore to immediately suspend broadcast licensing to all Russian state media channels, including their rebroadcasting; calls on the Commission and the European External Action Service to enhance alternative online Russian-language information on the unfolding developments to counter disinformation, to ensure that EU public statements are translated into Russian and also to address Russian-speaking audiences and platforms; welcomes the announcement of the Commission President that the broadcasting of Russia Today and Sputnik would be banned in the EU, and reiterates the calls on Google and YouTube to ban war propaganda accounts;

32. Calls for the EU and the Member States to terminate the software licences for military and civilian equipment in Russia and Belarus, especially those used for communication and satellite navigation;

33. Points to the continued need for the EU to bolster its own resilience to hybrid attacks;

34. Calls for the EU and its Member States to continue providing the strongest possible economic and financial support to Ukraine, as well as macro-financial and technical assistance wherever needed, including in defence- and security-related areas, to activate any EU budget instruments available and to develop a long-term strategy to support Ukraine’s efforts in strengthening the resilience of its democratic institutions and economy;

35. Calls for the EU and 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; emphasises 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;

36. Reiterates its unwavering support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all Eastern Partnership countries and calls on the Commission and the Member States to support them, in particular Moldova, in providing temporary shelter to refugees from Ukraine and improving their resilience against possible Russian attacks in the areas of defence, cybersecurity and strategic communication;

37. 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;

38. Notes with grave concern the persistent efforts by the Russian Federation to destabilise the Western Balkan countries and interfere with their democratic processes; denounces those who expressed support to the Russian Federation following its aggression against Ukraine and commends the support shown by those Western Balkan countries that are Euro-Atlantic allies; strongly regrets Serbia’s non-alignment with EU sanctions against Russia, which damages its EU accession process, and reiterates its expectation that EU accession candidates align not only with the EU acquis but also with the EU’s common foreign and security policy;

39. Welcomes the decision of the Council of Europe to suspend the Russian Federation from its rights of representation and the decision of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to terminate Russia’s accession process;

40. Expresses appreciation and support for the Russian and Belarusian citizens who took to the streets in recent days, risking their own safety, to condemn the war launched in the name of the Russian Federation and with support of the illegitimate dictator of Belarus, condemns the arrest of thousands of peaceful protesters and calls for their immediate release;

41. Calls on the EU and the Member States to support the anti-war movements protesting against Putin’s invasion of Ukraine in Russia and in Belarus;

42. Calls on other international organisations, in particular in the area of culture and sports, to also consider suspending Russian participation; welcomes in this regard the decision of the European Broadcasting Union to block Russia’s participation in the Eurovision song contest and UEFA’s decision to strip Russia of the Champions League Final, as well as the decisions of numerous national teams not to play Russia in World Cup play-offs and other games; calls on other sport federations to suspend Russia’s participation in their events, and welcomes FIFA’s decision to suspend Russia’s participation in the World Cup;

43. 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;

44. Calls on the Commission and the Member States to provide support and protection to human rights defenders and civil society in Russia and Belarus, who will be facing a severe crackdown, including by issuing emergency visas to leave Russia and Belarus if needed;

45. Underlines that the EU and its Member States will ensure that the perpetrators of war crimes and human rights violations, including those who assisted such crimes by way of propaganda, will be held accountable; therefore calls for the EU and its Member States to work with international bodies to collect evidence and to support and promote the International Criminal Court’s jurisdiction and investigation of any war crime committed within the territory of Ukraine since 20 February 2014 onwards in order to bring to justice Vladimir Putin and Aliaksandr Lukashenka;

46. Welcomes the special session of the United Nations General Assembly to emphasise the international community’s firm condemnation of the actions perpetrated in the name of the Russian Federation against Ukraine and the proposed adoption of a resolution calling for sanctions against the Russian Federation as an aggressor state; deplores the Russian veto on the UN Security Council resolution intended to end the Russian Federation’s military offensive against Ukraine;

47. Calls for a UN Security Council investigation to be initiated under Chapter VI of the UN Charter (Articles 34-35); calls on China, as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, to fully respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, and to use its leverage on Russia to bring an end to the current aggression, which threatens international stability;

48. Condemns the Russian Federation for conducting military operations in direct proximity to critical infrastructure, such as nuclear power plants, dams and chemical factories; is gravely concerned about the situation of the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant after its capture by the Russian forces, which has resulted in the violation of every possible regulation on the safety of nuclear power plants and which is being used as a springboard for an offensive against Kyiv, including artillery shelling; calls on the international community to closely monitor the situation and calls for an urgent meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Board of Governors on the issues of the nuclear repercussions of the Russian aggression;

49. Notes with grave concern the occupation and control of the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant by Russian military forces; asks the International Atomic Energy Agency to create a special task force to monitor the actions of the Russian Federation with regard to the safety of nuclear sites, facilities and fuels;

50. Calls for the EU institutions to assess the environmental impact of the war on the region;

51. Is extremely concerned about the alliance between far-right parties represented in the European Parliament and the Russian ruling party and about their impact on our democracies, as well as the foreign and covert funding of parties, individuals and movements aimed at social fragmentation and the destabilisation of the EU;

52. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Council, the Commission, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the President, Government and Parliament of Ukraine, the President, Government and Parliament of the Russian Federation and the President, Government and Parliament of Belarus.