Vilnius, 1 June – NATO allies must ensure that Russia pays a high price for destabilising Ukraine and annexing Crimea, while financial and material aid to Kyiv should be boosted, the NATO Parliamentary Assembly urged in a draft report Sunday. //
“An aggressor should pay a serious price if it continues to infringe upon Ukraine’s sovereignty. Meaningful sanctions have to be imposed until Moscow takes steps to de-escalate the situation and end the occupation of Crimea,” said the report’s author, Polish deputy Witold Waszczykowski.
“The lingering conflict not only undermines the future of Ukraine, it also eats away at our credibility. It is our responsibility to stand by the people of Ukraine and provide them with strong political and economic support,” he told the NATO PA’s Committee on the Civil Dimension of Security.
Waszczykowski urged the European Union to give Ukraine a perspective for membership and work to reduce Europe’s energy dependence on Russia, but said that the EU is “ill-equipped to confront those who think not in categories of right and wrong, but in categories of strong and weak”.
He called for NATO to strengthen its presence around its eastern flank. “It is necessary for our Alliance to revisit our policies that have so far prohibited NATO from deploying adequate capabilities in Central and Eastern Europe,” he said.
Ukrainian journalist Vitaly Portnikov said that his country’s system of governance and borders must be protected, and that people should be free from the “unabashed propaganda” being pumped in by foreign media; a theme picked up by many lawmakers and NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, during the Assembly’s three-day Spring Session in Vilnius, Lithuania.
Portnikov noted that until February 2014 Ukraine had but an imitation of state structures. Russia’s aggression was prompted by the realization that Ukraine had finally turned into a full-fledged independent state. He also stressed that real state-building should involve all citizens, including those in the east where questions have been raised about whether their voices have been heard, and be carried out without the influence of ‘external forces’.
Portnikov also told the committee that the pace of historical processes in today’s world has accelerated, and that Ukraine and Georgia will become members of the EU and NATO sooner than many would expect.
NATO's Parliamentary Assembly brings together members of national parliaments from the 28 Allied nations as well as partner countries, observers and organisations. It is an essential link between the Alliance and national parliaments - and therefore, to citizens in the Euro-Atlantic area.