MEPs committed to pushing EU governments to do more to help Ukraine against Russia’s aggression, in a debate with the Ukrainian Minister of Defence Oleksii Reznikov.
Ukrainian Minister of Defence Oleksii Reznikov told MEPs the EU should hit Russia with destructive, “biting” sanctions that would paralyse its economy and force it to stop the aggression.
In a resolution adopted on 1 March, 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.
Addressing MEPs remotely at a meeting of the Security and Defence Subcommittee, the Foreign Affairs Committee and the EU-Ukraine Delegation, Defence Minister Reznikov said that Ukraine is ready to use all of the EU’s financial help very quickly. He urged EU countries to supply Ukraine with lethal weapons, without the constraints of red tape. He also called for a no-fly zone and asked: “What higher level of escalation is necessary to see more action?”
MEPs, united in voicing their admiration for the heroism of the Ukrainian people, stressed they would support further packages of sanctions to bring Russia to the negotiating table. During the debate, MEPs asked Minister Reznikov about the involvement of countries politically close to Russia, like Kazakhstan or Armenia, and whether he thought Belarus might join the war. They also enquired how to start investigations into possible war crimes committed in Ukraine, so the perpetrators can be brought to justice.
“We are not here to tell you what you should do, we are not here to tell you how you should fight; you have proven that no-one has to teach you anything. We are here to push our governments and the European Union to do more to support you, and we are committed to doing that. Because you are part of our European family”, concluded the Chair of the Subcommittee on Security and Defence Nathalie Loiseau (Renew, FR).
You can watch the video recording of the debate here