The full implementation of the Minsk Agreements and the broader respect of international law remain key preconditions for closer cooperation with Russia. This was the decision made by Members of the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee today by adopting a Report authored by Sandra Kalniete MEP on the state of EU-Russia political relations.

“Since 2008 and the attack against Georgia, Russia has changed from being a responsible partner on the international scene to a dangerous state for its neighbours. I am deeply convinced that the time for nice diplomatic language is over. The time has come to call a spade a spade”, declared Sandra Kalniete MEP, Vice-Chairwoman of the EPP Group responsible for foreign affairs.

“There are many different views on the future of EU-Russia relations. I believe, however, that there is very little room for any framework for cooperation as long as Russia continues to occupy Ukraine and acts against other European countries. It is important to continue to strengthen the sanctions against Russia until it fully complies with international norms and stops its aggression towards Ukraine and other countries”, she added.

In addition to the Russian illegal annexation of the Crimean peninsula, Members also condemned Moscow’s disinformation campaigns and cyber attacks carried out by Russian intelligence which aim to increase tensions and destabilise European societies. They condemn the assassinations and further breaches of sovereignty of European countries by Russia.

“Under the current circumstances, Russia can no longer be considered a strategic partner”, said Kalniete. “The EU needs to send a clear message about further sanctions if Russia’s illegal actions continue. The outdated EU-Russia Partnership and Cooperation Agreement should also be reconsidered. And any future framework for the EU-Russia relationship should be based on the full respect of international law and OSCE principles.”

She stressed at the same time that more support should be given to Russian civil society and supported the principle of selective engagement with Russia.

“Global challenges like climate change, energy security, non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the fight against terrorism and organised crime make it that some selective contacts are needed with Russia. The selective approach principle should be, however, further defined and focused on concrete issues”, she concluded.