2023.02.24

Commemorating one year of full scale Russian aggression to Ukraine. U4U Press Statement, 24.02.2023

Statement in pdf format.

Commemorating one year of full scale Russian aggression to Ukraine

United for Ukraine, Press Statement

23-24 February 2023

 

We, parliamentarians representing Foreign Affairs Committees, National Security and Defense Committees, and the United for Ukraine global parliamentary network, upon paying solidarity visit to Ukraine on 24 February 2023:

 

  • Condemn in the strongest possible terms Russia’s unprovoked and unjustifiable war of aggression against Ukraine, the illegal occupation of Ukrainian regions, aimed at annihilating Ukrainian statehood and Ukrainian people, and will never recognize Russia’s illegal attempts to annex parts of Ukrainian territory, made since 2014, fully supporting Ukraine’s goal to restore its sovereignty and territorial integrity within the internationally recognized borders.
  • Believe that decisive Ukraine’s victory is critical to European and global security and for the perspectives of sustainable peace on European continent. If not defeated this year on the battlefield in Ukraine, Russia’s military machine will remain a formidable military threat that could escalate into larger conflict with entire Europe and will consolidate efforts of autocratic states to challenge global rules-based international order. We are convinced that this must be prevented, including through the increased military and defense support to Ukraine and sanctions pressure on Russia and its global accomplices including Belarus and Iran.
  • Share Ukraine’s view that everything possible, including timely military and technical assistance, must be provided to bring its victory in the war closer. We welcome the recent decisions taken by our governments in this regard and call on all partners to grant Ukraine with all necessary military tools to win the war as soon as possible. We call to further follow this path and speed up the process, based on understanding that delivery of higher quality and larger quantity of modern weapons is the only way to achieve the victory of Ukraine faster, to decrease the number of victims and the damage to the infrastructure of Ukraine as well as to create the basis for peace and stability in Europe.
  • Strongly condemn Russia’s ongoing tactic of terrorizing Ukrainian civilians by attacking residential areas and critical civilian infrastructure by artillery, missiles and drones in revenge for the military losses on the ground. Therefore, we welcome decision already taken to acknowledge Russia as a terrorist state or a state sponsor of terrorism, including by the NATO Parliamentary Assembly and the European Parliament. We are firmly committed to holding all perpetrators and accomplices accountable. We need to ensure full accountability, including by establishing a special tribunal for the crime of aggression. We call to speed up the legal confiscation of Russia’s frozen foreign exchange reserves and assets abroad for compensating damage caused to Ukraine and Ukrainian citizens.
  • Express our support to the Peace Formula proposed by President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy as an effective tool to bring the end to Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine and establish a comprehensive, just and lasting peace as well as security to the whole world. We urge our governments to commit to its implementation and to encourage international partners across the globe to join it.
  • See Ukraine as part of the European and Euro-Atlantic family, supporting its future EU membership. We, the representatives of the EU parliaments, call on EU Member States to back Ukraine and support its work as well as the work of the European Commission to take decision on starting accession negotiations with Ukraine as early as possible in 2023 in order to consolidate the momentum for further EU-supported reforms and recovery.
  • We also look forward to the NATO Vilnius Summit with great expectations and call on NATO member states to give clear and strong security guarantees for Ukraine. We are confident that Ukraine’s NATO membership would greatly contribute to the Alliance’s security and would help the Russian society to finally get rid of the imperial dreams, which Putin is using to consolidate his regime. This would send a strong message that Ukraine is not in the sphere of Russia’s interests and Russia has no further veto on NATO enlargement. Ukraine would significantly strengthen the Alliance and its European pillar as Ukrainians have the strongest and battle-tested military in Europe. By crushing Russia’s imperial dream, a guarantee of Ukraine’s future NATO membership would help ensure sustainable peace in Europe and could play an important role in bringing democratic transformation in Russia. That is why Ukrainian membership in NATO is supported by Russian democratic opposition.

 

  1. Andrius Kubilius, Member of the European Parliament, Leader of the United for Ukraine (U4U)
  2. Žygimantas Pavilionis, Chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Seimas
  3. Giedrius Surplys, Deputy Chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Seimas
  4. Ekaterina Spasova Gecheva-Zaharieva, Chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the National Assembly
  5. Pavel Fisher, Chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defense and Security of the Senate
  6. Jussi Halla-aho, Chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Finlands riksdag
  7. Mireille Clapot, Vice-Chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the National Assembly
  8. Laurent Saunier, Head of the Secretariat of the Foreign Affairs Committee
  9. Thomas Erndl, Deputy Chair of the Bundestag Foreign Affairs Committee
  10. Bjarni Jónsson, Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Parliament of Iceland
  11. Lia Quartapelle, Vice-President of the Committee on Foreign and Community Affairs of the Chamber of Deputies
  12. Roberto Menia, Vice-President of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence of the Italian Senate
  13. Giovanni Baiocchi, Clerk of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defense of the Italian Senate
  14. Radosław Fogiel, Chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Sejm
  15. Bogdan Klich, Chairman of the Foreign and European Union Affairs Committee of the Senate
  16. António Prôa, Vice-Chair of the National Defence Committee of the Portugal Parliament
  17. Predrag Baković, Chair of the Committee on Foreign Policy of the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia
  18. Pau Marí-Klose, Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Congress of Deputies of the Kingdom of Spain
  19. Pablo Hispan, Vicepresident of PP Group, Deputy Chairman of the Congress of Deputies of the Kingdom of Spain
  20. Gustaf Göthberg, Member of Parliament, Member of the Defense Committee, alternate member of the committee on foreign affairs and member of the committee on legal affairs and human rights in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe
  21. Alicia Kearns, Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the British House of Commons
  22. Marek Ženišek, Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Chamber of Deputies
  23. Kateryna Musiienko, Counsellor or Mr. Kubilius and Coordinator of the U4U

 

2023.02.22

On Ukraine’s membership in NATO. Draft EPP position paper

On Ukraine’s membership in NATO

Draft position paper

NATO Summit in Vilnius, which will take place on 11-12 July, 2023, will be where an answer to a strategic question of geopolitical significance will be given – will Ukraine get the invitation to join NATO or not.

Not inviting Ukraine to join NATO during the Vilnius Summit will have major negative repercussions on the long-term security architecture of the European continent. It will be a clear indication that Putin still has a veto power on NATO enlargement. It will also mean that the European continent will continue to be exposed to grave short-term and long-term security risks.

Non-invitation of Ukraine and Georgia to join NATO during the Bucharest Summit in 2008 led to Russia’s war of aggression against Georgia, to occupation of Crimea, and to the war against Ukraine, which was started in 2014 and was expanded to a full-scale war in 2022.

Repeating the same strategic mistakes during the Vilnius Summit will lead to the same tragic consequences, i.e. to further increased aggressiveness of Putin and his Kremlin regime.

The EPP, a major European political power, has taken up leadership on support of Ukraine since the beginning of this war. It now needs to formulate a clear position supporting Ukraine’s Membership in NATO before the Vilnius Summit and to spearhead a European debate on this issue.

There are three major arguments that sceptics use against offering Ukraine NATO membership at the Vilnius Summit:

  • Ukraine’s NATO membership will not strengthen NATO, in fact, a mere discussion about such a prospect could destroy the unity of the West;
  • Many NATO Members are afraid to support Ukraine’s NATO Membership. In their belief this will empower Putin’s argumentation that Russia is surrounded by enemies and help Putin to further mobilize Russian people’s support for the war;
  • Many NATO Members are afraid to provide NATO Membership invitation to Ukraine during the Vilnius Summit because that will mean that NATO Article 5 will be initiated immediately and thus NATO will become directly involved in the ongoing war.

How should EPP answer to these arguments?

  1. Ukraine’s NATO Membership is not only an unprecedented opportunity to strengthen NATO military capabilities, this decision would also unite the West for a broader agenda to guarantee a sustainable peace on the European continent:

NATO was created in 1949 to enable the West in a collective way to resist the imperial expansion of Stalinist Russia/Soviet Union into the Western Europe. Ukraine is now doing exactly that, while its military capabilities exceed all NATO Membership criteria. Today, Ukraine is fighting for the NATO goals alone – of course, with Western military assistance, but without any NATO-type Western security collective guaranties.

During the first year of war, Ukraine’s soldiers, their military/political leadership, and the whole society have proven that the Ukrainians have stronger motivation and military capabilities to defend their land than any other country in Europe. If Ukraine joined NATO (and the EU), they could form a battle-tested core of the “European army”.

Most importantly, Ukraine’s Membership in NATO would solve Europe’s biggest security challenge posed by the authoritarian Russia. It would positively affect post-Putin Russia’s transformation into democracy (see below), which would in turn have a major impact on restoring and maintaining peace on the European continent. Assisting Russia’s transformation is a major strategic task for both for NATO and the EU, as democracy in Russia is the only way to prevent further Russian aggression. Democracies do not fight each other. If such broader vision prevailed among NATO Members, there would be no argument against united support for Ukraine’s NATO Membership.

  1. Ukraine’s Membership in NATO will assist post-Putin Russia’s transformation into democracy. That is why the Russian opposition supports Ukraine’s NATO Membership, and why Putin is so fiercely opposed to it.

For the majority of Russians to be able to support the transformation of post-Putin Russia back to democracy, the Russian society needs to abandon its dream to restore the empire. This is the crucial first step. How can we assist the Russian people in abandoning the imperial dream? We can call this task the most important challenge in the process of “deputinizing Russia”. This can be achieved only through:

  • Total military defeat of Russia in Ukraine;
  • Bringing Putin and Lukashenko to justice at the International Tribunal for the crime of aggression;
  • Extending an invitation for Ukraine to become a Member of NATO.

Such an invitation would send the most powerful signal to the Russians that their dream to restore the empire is gone – Ukraine is in the Western camp now.

The long-term stability of restored democracy in the post-Putin Russia (which is crucial for sustainable peace on the European continent) requires that Putin’s imperial dream of Novorossiya is not only decisively crushed; it must be prevented from recovering, once an inevitable post-revolutionary wave of nostalgia for the past sweeps over the newly revitalised young Russian democracy. Even the most hard-core imperial hawks in Russia must finally realise that Ukraine is no longer within their reach. It is, therefore, in the West’s interest to grant NATO membership to Ukraine in the nearest future. Ukraine’s Membership in NATO is not so much about increasing and ensuring Ukraine’s security – Ukraine is doing just that without the NATO Membership already. It is primarily about helping Russians not to succumb to the imperial nostalgia again, which destroyed the “Yeltsin democracy” and brought Putin to power.

Putin understands very well that Ukraine’s membership in NATO will not bring any security threats to Russia, because NATO is a defence organization and it is not threatening Russia with any military aggression. That is why Putin did not oppose Sweden and Finland joining NATO, even though their Membership brings NATO directly to the Russian border. However, Putin is well aware that Ukraine’s Membership in NATO will make his Novorossiya ideology obsolete. Without this narrative, he will not be able to keep his power and maintain nostalgic loyalty of many Russians to his regime. Fear of losing control internally is the main reason behind Putin’s fierce opposition to Ukraine’s NATO Membership. This is also the reason why the Russian opposition want their society to get rid of any nostalgia to imperial past, and do not object Ukraine choosing its own path.

During the Vilnius Summit, NATO Members will need to decide to whom they are listening on the issue of Ukraine’s Membership in NATO: is it the authoritarian Putin and his cronies in the Kremlin, or is it the Russian opposition, which is fighting for democracy in Russia?

  1. Ukraine’s Membership in NATO does not mean direct NATO involvement in Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, but it can speed up Russia’s withdrawal from Ukraine and bring peace back to the European continent.

There may be different ways to ensure that inviting Ukraine to join NATO (while the war is ongoing) would not become an obligation for the Member States to enter the war. Ukraine is not expecting such an obligation. For example, NATO’s invitation for Ukraine could entail a provision that Article 5 will only become operational after Ukrainian victory in the war.

Even such “limited membership” would provide many significant benefits for Ukraine, as it would become party to routine NATO activities and exercises. Even more importantly, it would send a very clear signal that NATO will forever stand together with its Member Ukraine.

This would still send a very powerful message to the Russian people, and especially to the Russian military leadership, that Ukraine is already a part of the West and will never be a part of any Russian empire.

The Russian people will realise that their dream to restore empire is gone forever (see above).  The Russian militaries will realise there is no hope to achieve anything in Ukraine, in the face of the Ukrainian military motivation and the Western military technology combined.

Thus, even a temporarily limited Ukraine’s Membership in NATO will send a very clear signal that NATO will forever stand together with its Member Ukraine.

Such NATO decision can also encourage part of the Kremlin political and military elite to seek ways to end this disastrous for Russia war. Because the alternative – Russia’s continued confrontation with the united West on the future of Ukraine – will mean further isolation and ultimate catastrophe for Russia itself.

********

These are rational arguments in favour of the Vilnius Summit decision to invite Ukraine to join NATO, outlining how it will be beneficial not only to the security of Ukraine, but also to the perspectives of long-term sustainable peace in Europe and even for the perspective of democracy in Russia itself.

Not making this offer would be a repeated strategic mistake and missed opportunity to solve the biggest long-term security issue of the European continent.

That is why the EPP, a political power supporting democracy, security, and sustainable peace, needs to take clear leadership in this issue, crucial for the future of Europe.

Members of the European Parliament:

Rasa JUKNEVIČIENĖ, Lithuania

Andrzej HALICKI, Poland

Andrius KUBILIUS, Lithuania

Ivan ŠTEFANEC, Slovakia

Romana TOMC, Slovenia

Siegfried MUREȘAN, Romania

Vladimír BILČÍK, Slovakia

Andrey KOVATCHEV, Bulgaria

Riho TERRAS, Estonia

Sandra KALNIETE, Latvia

Tomas TOBÉ, Sweden

Aušra MALDEIKIENĖ, Lithuania

Romana TOMC, Slovenia

Elżbieta ŁUKACIJEWSKA, Poland

Franc BOGOVIČ, Slovenia

Jan OLBRYCHT, Poland

Janina OCHOJSKA, Poland

Michaela ŠOJDROVÁ, Czechia

Radan KANEV, Bulgaria

Inese VAIDERE, Latvia

Alexander Alexandrov YORDANOV, Bulgaria

Radosław SIKORSKI, Poland

Ewa KOPACZ, Poland

Jerzy BUZEK, Poland

2023.02.20

Andrius Kubilius. Opening Statement in the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly

Opening Statement in the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly in Chisinau,  20 February, 2023

Andrius Kubilius

Member of the European Parliament,

Co-President of Euronest PA

Congratulations to  all the members of Euronest Parliamentary Assembly and thanks to our hosts from Moldova. This is unique session, since it’s the  first session of Euronest,  held  during the war.

The war brings tectonic changes and geopolitical earthquakes in the whole EaP region and the whole European continent.

The first question, which we need to answer – why Putin started the war?

Somebody is calling that this is a traditional neoimperial or colonial war.

I would stress, that  this is the war of collapsing autocracy against inevitable spread of democracy to the eastern part of European continent. I would like to call it “Kremlin regime survival war”.

Kremlin waged the war not to allow democracy to spread into Russia. For Kremlin regime to survive in Russia the biggest threat is success of democratic Ukraine and other EaP countries, because that can inspire Russian people to demand the same development in Russia.

Ukraine success (and of  other EaP countries) can be built in the same way as success of Central Europe was created in 1990-ies through integration towards EU.  This is the only way how the success of countries in post Soviet area can be created. For Putin regime Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia  integration towards EU is the biggest danger for  survival of his regime.  That is the reason why he started the war against Ukraine success.

Russia will lose this war. With the Western assistance, they will be defeated in Ukraine.  It’s needed not only for Ukraine, it’s needed for the whole democratic world, and especially for democratic Europe. And such a defeat will bring collapse of autocracy in Russia, and it will open the doors for transformation back to democracy in Russia.

It’s a crucially important historical moment, which will change the whole geopolitical landscape of European continent. We, my generation, we have seen how Berlin Wall collapsed, now we are coming to the moment of the same historical significance when Kremlin wall of authoritarian, aggressive regime will collapse.

And that historical change depends exceptionally on Ukraine.

Because transformation of Russia will happen, first of all,  if Russian people will get rid of the dream to restore Empire. In order to achieve that, there are three most important things which we all together need to realize: 1) Russia military defeat in Ukraine; 2) international tribunal for Putin; and 3) NATO membership for Ukraine: Russians need to understand that Ukraine is gone from their sphere of influence.

From another side, for such transformation to happen Russian people need to believe that they can have normal life in Russia itself. And for that to happen, Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia   integration towards EU will play most important strategic role, because that is how Ukraine  and  other EaP countries success will be created and how example and inspiration for Russian people will created.

Transformation of Russia is the only way for sustainable peace to be created on European continent. That is why European integration is the only way towards sustainable peace, and that is why integration of EaP countries towards EU is needed not only for the countries of EaP themselves, but strategically is very much needed also for EU itself. That is also what on  EU side  we still need to understand properly. And that is why Eastern Partnership policy is one of the most important geopolitical policies of EU, and   why Euronest PA is such an important event.

Also it is so crucially important that we have this Assembly here in Chisniau. Not just because  we have session in the neighborhood of Ukraine, but mostly because Moldova brings a clear and very important evidence that if the people in EaP region has a possibility to make a free choice, they are choosing European direction. Despite all the Kremlin efforts to resist such a choice with all Kremlin hybrid influence weapons. I would like to congratulate President Maja Sandu and all the leadership of Moldova for a great job bringing Moldova on European road.

Moldova brings clear evidence what would be the choice of Belarus people if they would have possibility to make a free choice, which Lukashenko have stolen from them. The same with Russian people and that is why Kremlin dreams how to destroy such a choice of Moldova people. But they will not succeed.

Autocracy in Russia will loose: both military in Ukraine and geopolitically against European integration of EaP countries.

For that to happen there is a need of consolidated political will on EU side and the whole Western world side. We need to deliver weapons to Ukraine and we need to deliver integration, with an ambitious integration agenda for Trio countries and with accession negotiations for Ukraine and Moldova to be started during this year.

With “military Ramstein” we, the West,  have shown the way how to consolidate our political will in order to deliver weapons. In order to deliver integration, we need to create “Integration Ramstein” .

We need to deliver integration in such a way, that EaP countries, first of all Moldova and Ukraine, and I hope Georgia, would become members of EU before 2029 and would participate in regular elections towards European Parliament.

This is the way to sustainable peace on all the European continent. Collapse of Kremlin walls will remove the most important destabilizing factor, factor of aggression and oppression  for all the EaP region, not only for Ukraine and Moldova, but also for Belarus, and  for the whole South Caucasus.

But all the changes in EaP region, all the geopolitical changes on European continent starts with Ukraine victory.

That is why Long live Moldova and Slava Ukrainy!

2022.02.11

A.KUBILIUS, K.MUSIENKO. ON EU RESPONSIBILITY TO PREVENT ENERGY CRISIS IN UKRAINE AND REGION

In the light of current gas supply difficulties in the EU amidst Gazprom’s manipulation as well as Russian military build-up near the Ukrainian border, the ongoing Nord Stream 2 debates and recent gas supply disruptions in Moldova, Andrius Kubilius and Kateryna Musienko laid out a non-paper on what the EU should do to ensure energy security of Ukraine, Moldova and CEE.

The paper discusses current situation with Russian gas supplies to Ukraine and Moldova, pointing out that if no strategic input from the European Union side is made, after 2024 the region will face enormous difficulties in securing its gas supplies when the existing gas transit contract between of Gazprom and Ukraine will expire.

To avoid further supply shocks the EU should be ready for a no-transit through Ukraine scenario if Nord Stream 2 will become operational or in the case of expiration of the gas transit contract in the 2024 case. Such non-transit scenario threatens not only Ukraine’s energy and geopolitical security, but also undermines Europe’s energy architecture.

The paper concludes that in the turbulent times of Russian weaponization of gas, energy security in the region must not be considered in purely commercial terms. Authors point-out that the EU can and must help both countries and the region to ensure greater independence from Russian gas by modernizing already existing infrastructure with additional interconnections in between Ukraine – Slovakia – Poland. Conversely, Europe can benefit from access to Ukrainian storage facilities – the largest in the region and locate near the EU-UA border.

The paper can be accessed here: PREVENTING ENERGY CRISIS IN UKRAINE AND REGION

Cover photo: ANDREY RUDAKOV/BLOOMBERG NEWS

2022.02.07

Andrius Kubilius. Statement on Belarus: Mr. Lukashenka and the President Putin are occupying Belarus

Andrius Kubilius
Statement on Belarus

Mr Lukashenka and the President Putin are occupying Belarus

Mr Lukashenka for many years since the very beginning of his authoritarian regime has been the Kremlin’s slave and a powerless servant of the President Putin. In 2020, he had a chance to stand by a side of the Belarusian people, but ultimately chose to stand against his nation and to continue his service to the Kremlin.

As the President Putin’s puppet, Mr Lukashenka is not able to change and even resist the Kremlin’s decision to deploy 30 000 troops in Belarus. All what Mr Lukashenka could to do is to follow the orders of the Kremlin. He was not asked for a permission, but got a directive to accept the biggest Russian deployment in Belarus since the Cold War.

No matter how this deployment is called, be it an exercise or a military alliance, Mr Lukashenka will be responsible for the consequences of his military collaboration against the will of Belarusian people.

If the President Putin will decide to invade Ukraine, he will commit an international crime and will be trialled for this by the international tribunal in Hague. If this invasion will take place from the Belarusian territory, Mr Lukashenko will become the accomplice in committing the war crime, and will be trialled together with Mr Putin.

This is why Mr Lukashenko should simply pray (since he has no other instruments to influence Putin’s decisions), that Russian troops now stationed on Belarusian soil will not be part to a military invasion into Ukraine.

If in the period when Belarus has no legitimate authority, the Russian troops will invade Ukraine from Belarus or will stay in Belarus for unlimited period, it will be the factual evidence that the Kremlin has occupied Belarus and Mr Lukashenka is a traitor of Belarusian statehood, and this betrayal will be his only legacy.

The West will be responding with harsh sanctions to the occupation of Belarus, as it did in the case of Russian occupation of Crimea in 2014. This response will involve personal sanctions on the Kremlin officials, sectoral sanctions on the economy of Russia, a comprehensive non-recognition policy of annexation of Belarus and an immediate launch of the international tribunal to trial Mr Lukashenka for his crimes against the people of Belarus and the Belarusian statehood.

If the Belarusian military will support the Russian invasion, its commanders will be sharing the same bench at the Hague Tribunal next to Mr Lukashenka and Mr Putin.

However, the administration of Belarusian institutions still has a change to distance itself from Lukashenka’s war crimes and to choose a different path of working not for the dictator, but for the future of the people of Belarus and for the future of democratic Belarus.

2021.02.18

MEP R. Juknevičienė: “In order to help the Russians, we need to sit down at a common table in Washington alongside our EU partners, not go to Moscow”

Member of the European Parliament Rasa Juknevičienė noted during a February 9 discussion at the European Parliament, which also featured High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell, on the protests in Russia and the imprisonment of opposition leader Alexei Navalny that changes in the EU’s policies should be directed towards affecting changes in Russia.

“After several decades of dreaming of a democratic Europe from Lisbon to Vladivostok, we must come to an understanding that such a Europe is impossible if we build it alongside the Kremlin regime,” said the MEP as she elaborated on her thoughts surrounding a Europe without the influence of Lukashenko, Putin, and other dictators. The politician addressed J. Borrell to emphasise that in order to aid the Russian people, we need to sit down at a common table in Washington alongside our EU partners to prepare and implement a combined democratic plan, and not simply go to Moscow. “In this plan, a containment strategy should apply to Putin, not assistance,” she states.

According to Juknevičienė, even prior to J. Borrell’s visit to Moscow it was clear that the Kremlin would mock him. “It was done in a despicable manner because they mocked the entire EU,” the MEP said. She noted that J. Borrell’s “black Friday in Moscow must finally help the EU come to an understanding that Putin really won’t change. Russia will eventually change, but not Putin.”

She called for fundamental changes in the EU’s policy towards the Putin regime. According to the MEP, “first we must cease thinking of Russia as ‘Putin’s Russia’, we must think about the people of Russia.” “For the Russian people, Putin is the greatest threat,” R. Juknevičienė said. The politician noted that if we fail to learn from J. Borrell’s bitter lesson, our struggles against disinformation and interference will be an empty effort and our citizens will no longer respect this union of democracies.

2021.02.09

MEP Andrius Kubilius. Foreign Policy Lesson from Moscow

During a recent visit of Mr Borrell to Moscow, Putin gave to the EU diplomacy an important lesson, which we do appreciate. Putin’s regime send a message they do not consider the EU as a strong geopolitical player and the relations with EU as important.

The EU has to learn from that lesson. No more business as usual. Russia is at the crossroads and the EU policy on relations with Russia should go through a deep strategic revision.

The EU has to act. There are three groups of decisions and policy lines, which the EU needs to develop immediately, in the medium and the longer term.

A. Immediate conclusions and decisions

1. No more illusions about Putins regime

The EU has to accept that Putin will not become different. He is following Lukashenko’s experience. However, Russia can be different, and the EU can help Russian people in that transformation.

2. The EU has to impose immediately sanctions on Putins regime

EU needs to introduce immediate sanctions to those responsible in the Putin’s regime.

Putin’s regime has not only attempted the assassination of Navalny by a chemical nerve agent on Russian soil, but also arrested him, sentenced him to prison for staying alive, and in just two weeks detained more than 10 000 of peaceful Russians.

3. The EU immediately has to abandon the Nord Stream 2 project

This project is a redundant reminder of the ‘Putin first’ strategy in EU relations with Russia.

II. Medium term conclusions and decisions:

4. The EU has to change its paradigm of relations with Russia from Putin firstto ‘Democracy first

There should be not five, but one principle of EU relations with Russia, which is the protection of democracy in Russia. Democracy is possible in Russia, as it is possible in Ukraine and Belarus.

5. Democracy and Climate change objectives are strategically equal

The EU must globally promote democracy objective at the same level, as it does with a global fight against the climate change.

6. A New Transatlantic Alliance for the Defence of Democracy

Fight for the future of democracy should be central in the renewed EU-US transatlantic agenda. Belarus, Russia, China, Hong Kong should be the most important targets on Alliance’s agenda to defend democracies.

7. A new type of preventive sanctions against stealing and bribing of elections

In advance of Russia’s 2021 parliamentary elections to be held in autumn, the Transatlantic Alliance should come out with agreed decisions on a new type of automatic preventive sanctions on those, who are planning to steal and bribe elections. The Alliance should introduce a new type of sanctions on the flows of dirty money, on hidden treasures of the autocrats and corrupted oligarchs, who are close to autocratic regimes.

8. A launch of the Justice Hubs for the people of Belarus and Russia

The EU should seek international justice for the crimes committed by authoritarian regimes and develop its initiative of Justice Hubs, applied first of all to the people of Belarus and Russia, who are suffering from a brutality of autocratic regimes. The EU Member States should implement the principle of universal jurisdiction in order to give international justice to the victims and to punish the perpetrators.

III. Longer term strategic policy lines

9. The success of Eastern Partnership policy inspires Russian people

With the recent pro-democracy developments in Belarus and Russia, EU should give a clear strategic priority for development of success of Eastern Partnership democratic countries. The belt of successful democracies located next to the borders of Russia would be the best inspiration for the Russian people to seek democracy, freedom and prosperity. The trio of EU-associated Eastern Partnership countries (Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova) should have the same EU policy framework, as do have the Western Balkan countries.

10. Strategic vision of future relations between EU and democratic Russia

In the revision of EU-Russia relations strategy, the EU should look not into the past of ‘Putin’s Russia’, but to the future of ‘Russia after Putin’, which will be free, prosperous and democratic. In this case, the EU should propose a new vision of its relations with new Russia, based on such elements as visa liberalisation, free trade, investments and strategic partnership.

***

Based on these 10 points, the EU can change its policy on Russia. EU policy change will help Russia to change itself and we hope no more lessons from Putin to EU diplomacy will be needed.

Andrius Kubilius, MEP, European Parliament’s Standing Rapporteur on Russia

 

2021.02.02

Statement on Putin’s Russia: the sentencing of Alexei Navalny

By Andrius Kubilius, MEP, Chair of the European Parliament’s Delegation to the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly, Standing Rapporteur on Russia 

 

Today, the Putin’s regime waged another attack against his people. It disrespected the rule of law, universal values of human rights and the principles of democracy.

In these circumstances, let me express our solidarity with the fearless people of Russia, who are living in a moment of change, not afraid anymore of threats and intimidations constantly spread by the regime.

At first, the regime attempted to poison Alexei Navalny. Then, upon his arrival in Moscow, Navalny was arrested for staying alive. Today, Alexei Navalny was sentenced to jail for his honesty and belief that Russia will soon become free from kleptocracy.

Today’s decision of the Moscow District Court is illegal and void. It goes against the ruling of ECHR and against the Constitution of the Russian Federation. Even Stalin would envy such a cynicism Putin is using against his opponents.

The Putin’s regime is desperate. It has launched systemic attacks on opposition by using poisoning, imprisonment, intimidation, torture and other means of persecution. The regime, which on Sunday has arrested more than 5000 peaceful demonstrators, is waging a real war against its own people.

The Putin’s regime is afraid. It is afraid of its own People. It is afraid of 2021 Parliamentary elections in Russia. It knows, that one can try stealing from Russian people the hope or the elections, but one will not steal their determination for change.

The majority of Russians, if they were given an opportunity, would be choosing another Russia without Putin, without political prisoners and free from corruption. Cynically, by attacking Navalny and waging the war against the people, Putin is doing everything possible to put under the question the legitimacy of 2021 Parliamentary elections.

Putin is following the footsteps of dictator Lukashenko. He is sharing with Lukashenko the same fear that the end of the two dictatorships is inevitable.

This leaves international community no more illusions about Putin and his regime. The EU and its transatlantic partners will have no choice, but to use all their power of targeted and sectoral sanctions to defend the people of Russia.

The EU will have to act urgently. The inaction would be only provoking Putin’s regime to dive deeper into brutality of the war against the people of Russia. The EU will have to revise its policy on Russia in order to promote universal values of human rights and democracy together with international partners, including at the Global Summit of Democracies.

2019.02.18

Andrius Kubilius, Lithuanian candidate for the position of Secretary General of the Council of Europe, will attend meetings in Helsinki, London and Brussels

Following a decision of the Board of the Seimas, Mr Andrius Kubilius, Member of the Seimas, will attend the meetings as part of the campaign for the election of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe. The meetings will take place in Helsinki, Republic of Finland, on 18–19 February 2019; London, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, on 19–20 February, and Brussels, Kingdom of Belgium, from 20 to 22 February 2019.

More: https://www.lrs.lt/sip/portal.show?p_r=25659&p_k=2&p_t=264620

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