EU may impose sanctions on Russia because of its actions in Sea of Azov

European Parliament says that Russia’s aggressive actions in the Sea of Azov are unacceptable and could lead to the escalation of a new conflict in Europe. The European legislative body is thus calling for additional sanctions to be imposed on Russia, Ukrinform reports.

The overwhelming majority of participants in debates in European Parliament on the topic consider Russia’s actions unacceptable.

“Russia’s violations of international law are not something new. But the attempt to annex the Sea of Azov and partially blockade Ukrainian ports is another serious challenge which impairs the European regime at sea. This is clearly more serious than just trade and economic issues. The situation in the Sea of Azov could gradually turn into a new conflict,” said European People’s Party member Sandra Kalniete.

Victor Boştiranu, a member of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats, observed that the construction of the Kerch Bridge and the events in the Sea of Azov are another attack by Russia against the sovereignty, security and territorial integrity of Ukraine, as well as a direct violation of international law. “The EU must help to resolve the situation, and navigation in the Sea of Azov must be returned to the norms of international maritime law,” he commented, adding that the situation threatens NATO’s entire eastern flank and the security of its member states.

“Russia’s aggressive position in the Sea of Azov is another example that this country is taking measures to prevent access to it,” observed Anna Fotyga, a member of the Conservatives and Reformists group.

Petras Auštrevičius, a member of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats Group, said that additional sanctions should be imposed on Russia: “The only response to this gross violation of international law is to impose additional restrictive measures against the aggressive Kremlin.”

Auštrevičius also remarked that the EU should take legal steps against European companies, individuals and even countries that are collaborating with Russia in contravention of the sanctions.

“The developments in the Sea of Azov must be viewed in the context of the Russian occupation of Crimea,” said Rebecca Harms, a representative of the Greens. She expressed the view that the OSCE should expand its monitoring mandate to include the Sea of Azov, and that the EU and NATO should deploy military vessels there in order to prevent escalation.

European Parliament is expected to vote on its resolution concerning Russia’s actions in the Sea of Azov on Thursday. Five of its largest political groups have submitted draft resolutions.

Russia has been detaining ships in the Sea of Azov on their way to Ukrainian ports. Such actions, intended to undermine Ukraine’s economic and political interests in the region, constitute a violation of international maritime law.

Earlier, Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, said that the EU condemns Russia’s construction of the Kerch Bridge, as well as its shipping blockade and its militarization in the Sea of Azov.

  EU, Russia, Azov Sea, Mogherini, NATO