MEPs have expressed “unwavering solidarity” with the people of Ukraine and their support for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity “as long as necessary and beyond”.
They spoke after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s speech in the European Parliament this week which was enthusiastically received by MEPs.
Rasa Juknevičienė, EPP vice-chair for Foreign Affairs, said, “By further invading Ukraine, Vladimir Putin has signed his political end and set his own country back by several decades. There won’t be a ‘business as usual’ approach to Russia as long as he remains at power. For the use of force, the devastation of an independent state and the killing of thousands innocent people, Putin and his proxies will be tried by an international tribunal”.
Juknevičienė added, “Ukrainians are the guardians of the European way of life. As President Zelenskyy said, we must help Ukraine to return home. Their European aspirations must become true”.
Another MEP, Terry Reintke,Greens/EFA Group President, commented, “It was a special honour to receive President Zelenskiy in Parliament. We stand firmly by Ukraine in its defence against the Russian aggressor. Ukraine belongs in the European family and we welcome that the EU has opened our doors to Ukraine and given a clear perspective for accession. Ukraine has already achieved a lot in the fight against corruption and should continue on the path of reforms it embarked on before the war.
“On migration and refugees, the shift to the right in the debate is absolutely unacceptable. The draft summit conclusions read like a blueprint for Fortress Europe. Some in the EU appear to have abandoned any notions of human rights in migration policy.
“Far-right rhetoric on deterrence and fences coming from the centre-right is seriously concerning. Human rights standards and international law are being replaced by clumsy isolationist thinking.
“The EU didn’t get the Nobel Prize for building walls and fences and pushing back boats with migrants. We share the goal of orderly border management, but not at the expense of standards of international law. We need a humanitarian migration policy with safe and legal ways of immigrating to the EU, and the decriminalisation of sea rescue, as well as a fair distribution of refugees from border countries.
Elsewhere, ECR leader Ryszard Legutko noted, :”The ECR will stand by Ukraine until Russia is defeated and beyond. The European Union must ensure that Ukraine emerges victorious from this war – and that Russia pays the price for no longer being able or willing to repeat such an appalling act.
“In solidarity with Ukraine, we must ensure that its soldiers receive the most modern equipment.
“Those who planned and enabled the terrible war of aggression, including Vladimir Putin and people close to him, must receive their just punishment. We must develop the mechanism to seize the assets of this warmongering elite and use Russian assets for the reconstruction of Ukraine – in addition to the reparations Russia must pay.
“We must tighten existing sanctions against Russia and add new ones as long as it does not withdraw all its forces from the internationally recognised territory of Ukraine.”
Socialist group leader Iratxe García, meantime, said, “On February 24 we will be marking one year since the beginning of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. We have witnessed the suffering of the Ukrainian people.
“The EU has helped in so many ways; politically, and with humanitarian and financial aid. The EU and its member states are the main supporters of Ukraine. The summit in Kyiv has not only to bolster unity between Ukraine and the EU, but also to bolster unity among member states.
“Only if we stand united can we move forward and create trust. Putin has to recognise our power and strength. For every refugee that has to flee their home we will respond with extraordinary humanity. For every home, hospital and school destroyed we will come down hard with sanctions,” said the Spanish member.