European Parliament Calls for Return of Crimea to Ukraine in Return for Lifting Sanctions

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Translated by Ollie Richardson for Fort Russ

5th January, 2016


The European Parliament adopted on Thursday, in a plenary session in Strasbourg, a resolution which links the withdrawal of EU sanctions against Russia with the restoration of control of Ukraine over the Crimea.

The deputies recalled that the EU considers the accession of Crimea to Russia illegal, and the EU will continue its policy of non-recognition of the “annexation of Crimea”.

“The restoration of control of Ukraine over the Peninsula is one of the conditions necessary for the resumption of relations of cooperation with the Russian Federation, including suspension of the respective sanctions,” the resolution says.

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In addition, the European Parliament condemned the alleged human rights violations in Crimea, primarily Crimean Tatars, as well as “severe restrictions of freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly” on the territory of Crimea.

Russia, in their words, is “responsible for the safety of the entire population, human rights, cultural and religious rights of the indigenous Tatars and other minorities in Crimea, for the maintenance of law and order in Crimea”.

In this regard, the parliamentarians called on the Russian authorities in Crimea, effectively and impartially, to investigate all cases of human rights violations, including disappearances and torture and to provide unimpeded access to Crimea of representatives of international organizations and independent experts of the OSCE, UN, Council of Europe, as well as any human rights NGOs and news media.

MEPs welcomed the visit of the special representative of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe to Crimea, and urged the EU Council to continue sanctions “until the full reintegration of Crimea into the legal system of Ukraine”.

The European Parliament condemned “the militarization of the Crimean Peninsula and the threat of Russian nuclear weapons in Crimea” and addressed Russia with the request “to start negotiations with Ukraine and other parties on the termination of the occupation of Crimea”.

The resolution of the European Parliament is advisory and non-binding.

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