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Leading MEPs strongly condemn the recognition of the non-government controlled areas of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts of Ukraine as independent entities.

The Chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs David Mcallister (EPP, DE), the Chair of the Delegation to the EU-Ukraine Parliamentary Association Committee Witold Waszczykowski (ECR, PL), the Chair of the Delegation to the EU-Russia Parliamentary Cooperation Committee Ryszard Czarnecki (ECR, PL), the European Parliament’s Standing Rapporteur on Ukraine Michael Gahler (EPP, DE) and the European Parliament’s Standing Rapporteur on Russia Andrius Kubilius (EPP; LT) issued the following statement on Tuesday on the recognition of the non-government controlled areas of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts of Ukraine as independent entities.

“We have learned with great concern and we strongly condemn the decision by the Russian President to proceed with the recognition of the non-government controlled areas of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts of Ukraine as independent entities and to officially send Russian troops into those territories.

Not only is such a step an extremely serious violation of international law as well as of the Minsk agreements, but it also casts serious doubt on the trustworthiness of the Russian Federation as an international actor and on its ability to keep its word in the international arena. Furthermore, the above decision puts into question the actual willingness of the Russian Federation to de-escalate the tense situation around Ukraine and to contribute to the peaceful resolution of the conflict.

We therefore urge the Russian Federation to repeal with immediate effect the above decision and to return to the negotiating table. In the meantime, we call on the European Union to work in close cooperation with its international partners and swiftly adopt sanctions against those involved in this illegal act, as well as a broader package of progressive, proportionate and strongly dissuasive economic sanctions against the Russian Federation. This should be linked to the lifting of the Russian military build-up within and around Ukraine’s internationally recognized borders and its attempted blockade of the Ukrainian economy.

In parallel, we call on the European Union to step up its economic assistance to the Ukrainian economy in order to increase the resilience of the Ukrainian population in these extremely difficult times, and to swiftly put in place contingency measures in anticipation of the possible humanitarian consequences of the conflict.

Finally, we commend the Ukrainian government’s composure in this delicate moment and we call on it to not give in to any provocations.

The European Parliament once again confirms its unwavering support to Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders. Parliament reiterates that there is no security for Europe without security for Ukraine and that no decision on the security of Ukraine should be taken without Ukraine, and no decision on the security of Europe should be taken without the European Union.”