MEPs have called on western diplomats to step up sanctions against Russian energy companies, as the US, the EU, Russia and Ukraine are meeting in Geneva to find a diplomatic solution to the Ukrainian crisis,
With 437 votes in favour, 49 against and 85 abstentions, the European Parliament approved a set of targeted measures against Russia and urged Moscow to withdraw its troops from eastern Ukraine.
“Sanctions have a sense if they have the role of deterrence and therefore I think we cannot wait too long if the development goes on as it does at the moment and I think after this was not done on Monday that the final judgement has to be taken tomorrow.” said German Conservative MEP Elmar Brok.
Condemning Russia’s escalating destabilisation in the area, the Parliament also welcomed the measures adopted by the Commission that would enable Ukraine to tackle an energy crisis if Russia decides to cut gas supplies.
“Another issue of critical importance is energy security. The letter by President Putin to 18 member states and five partner countries illustrates well how important this issue is. The European Union will respond jointly to this letter, in order to agree on consultations with Russia and Ukraine with a view to ensuring the security of supply and transit.” said EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fule.
The vote comes after a violent clash left three people dead and 13 injured in eastern Ukraine, where Pro-Russian separatists, allegedly backed by Russian military forces, seized government buildings over the weekend.
With Russian troops gathered on the border with Ukraine, Russia’s president Vladimir Putin said he has “the right” to send troops into Ukraine but hopes he will not have to do so.