In a resolution adopted with 513 votes to 22 and 19 abstentions on Thursday, MEPs call for additional punitive measures, including “an immediate full embargo on Russian imports of oil, coal, nuclear fuel and gas”.
This should be accompanied by a plan to ensure the EU’s security of energy supply, as well as a strategy to “roll back sanctions in case Russia takes steps towards restoring Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders and completely removes its troops from the territory of Ukraine”.
Exclude Russia from G20 and other multilateral organisations
Existing sanctions must now be fully and effectively implemented throughout the EU and by the EU’s international allies as a matter of priority, insist MEPs. They call on EU leaders to exclude Russia from the G20 and other multilateral organisations, such as UNHRC, Interpol, the World Trade Organisation, UNESCO and others, “which would be an important sign that the international community will not return to business as usual with the aggressor state”.
To make the sanctions more effective, the Parliament calls for Russian banks to be excluded from the SWIFT system, for all vessels connected to Russia to be banned from entering EU territorial waters and docking at EU ports and for road freight transport from and to Russia and Belarus to be prohibited. MEPs also demand the seizure of “all assets belonging to Russian officials or the oligarchs associated with Putin’s regime, their proxies and strawmen, as well as those in Belarus linked to Lukashenka’s regime”.
Pointing to Belarus’ involvement in the war in Ukraine, the resolution demands that sanctions on Belarus mirror those introduced against Russia in order to close any loopholes allowing Putin to use Lukashenka’s aid to circumvent sanctions.
Arms deliveries must continue and be stepped up
MEPs refer to the shocking atrocities, “that undeniably amount to war crimes”, committed by Russian troops in Ukraine and particularly in Bucha, and the complete or almost complete destruction of Mariupol, Volnovakha and other cities and villages (recitals C & D). They stress that perpetrators of war crimes must be held accountable and call for a special UN tribunal for the crimes in Ukraine to be set up.
Parliament reiterates that deliveries of weapons must continue and be stepped up to allow Ukraine to effectively defend itself. MEPs support further defensive aid given to the Ukrainian armed forces individually by EU member states and collectively through the European Peace Facility.
Noting that nearly 6.5 million Ukrainian citizens have been internally displaced and more than 4 million have fled the country due to the war (recital B), MEPs call for safe humanitarian corridors to evacuate civilians fleeing bombardments and for the EU’s humanitarian aid networks in Ukraine to be boosted.
They condemn the Russian rhetoric hinting that they could potentially resort to using weapons of mass destruction and emphasise that any such deployment would be met with the severest of consequences.
MEPs back plans to restock gas reserves before next winter
In addition, the EP also backed plans to accelerate the replenishment of Europe’s strategic gas reserves so that households and businesses will have enough gas for the coming winter.
The proposal, adopted under Parliament’s urgent procedure process, will now be negotiated with EU ministers. MEPs want to establish a mandatory minimum 80% level of gas in storage facilities by 1 November 2022, and 90% for subsequent years, in order to ensure security of supply and protect Europeans from possible supply shocks.
All storage operators will also have to undergo a new mandatory certification, in order to avoid risks resulting from outside interference. Operators who fail to secure this certification will have to give up ownership or control of EU gas storage facilities. Moreover, operators will not be able to close a gas storage facility without authorisation from the national regulator.
In order to speed up the refilling of gas reserves, the new law will also incentivise energy companies with a discount on transmission tariffs to – or from – storage facilities.