The European Parliament will debate tonight the current situation in Crimea. Five years after Russia’s illegal annexation of the peninsula in 2014, the Socialists and Democrats remain committed to the sovereignty, security and territorial integrity of Ukraine, and condemn Moscow’s deliberate destabilisation of Ukraine.

Ahead of the debate, Tonino Picula MEP, S&D shadow rapporteur on EU-Ukraine Association Agreement said:

“The European Union does not and will not recognise the annexation of Crimea by Russia. In the last five years, we have witnessed blunt human rights violations, restrictions of fundamental freedoms and illegal elections, which we have condemned. Russia’s recent warlike actions in the Kerch Strait and the Sea of Azov, are also dangerously leading to an escalation of tensions. We strongly condemned this unjustified use of force and are concerned at the further militarisation in the Black Sea region.”

“Five years after the illegal annexation of Crimea by Russia, our determination in condemning this blunt violation of international law has not faded. Russia has turned occupied Crimea into a fortress that destabilises the region and poses a serious threat for the EU and NATO. We want to be clear that we will never tolerate and will never get accustomed to such grave and blunt violations of international law. We remain firmly committed to protecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, as well as human rights in the occupied territories. The sanctions and restrictive measures should remain in place as long as the violations continue, and to be further strengthened if the situation so requires,” added Victor Boştinaru, S&D vice-president responsible for foreign affairs.