European Parliament wants SWIFT shutdown and Russian energy consumption halt ‘if Ukrainian aggression continues’
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Tensions in war-torn eastern Ukraine between Kiev and the breakaway Donbas republics escalated this spring after the Ukrainian government mobilized its troops, prompting Donbas leaders to voice their fears of ‘a general offensive. Moscow, which serves as the guarantor of the Minsk peace accords, called for calm and warned Kiev against any escalation.
More than 50 European Parliament lawmakers have tabled a resolution proposing to disconnect Russia from the SWIFT payment system and end the purchase of Russian oil and gas supplies in the event of an alleged assault on Moscow and continued destabilization of Ukraine, hostile behavior and direct attacks against member states and EU companies “degenerates into military action.
In a draft resolution tabled Wednesday “on Russia, the case of Alexei Navalny, the military build-up on Ukraine’s border and the Russian attacks in the Czech Republic,” the group of lawmakers, mostly from Europe the East, suggested that if the current tensions over Ukraine turn into an outright Russian invasion, imports of “oil and gas from Russia to the EU [must] be immediately arrested, while Russia should be excluded from the SWIFT payment system, and all EU assets of oligarchs close to Russian authorities and their families in the EU should be frozen and their visas canceled. “
The resolution does not clarify what could push Russia to âinvadeâ Ukraine. Moscow has repeatedly called on the current Kiev government to honor its commitments under the Minsk peace accords.
The resolution then blames Moscow for the deteriorating security situation in eastern Ukraine, and criticizes Russia for suspending “innocent right of passage for warships and commercial vessels” through the Kerch Strait. until October 31.
Calling opposition vlogger Alexei Navalny “Russia’s best-known anti-corruption activist and opposition politician,” the resolution demands his immediate release and calls for an investigation into the allegations of “poisoning” and “Assassination attempt” against him. Navalny was jailed after returning to Russia in January on probation breaches of his suspended sentence in a fraud case in 2014.
The resolution continues to accuse Russia of a litany of crimes, including election interference, “the use of disinformation, forgery, malicious cyber attacks, sabotage and chemical weapons,” and the latest allegations regarding the Russian involvement in the explosions of arms depots in the Czech Republic. , and urges the EU to “reduce its dependence on Russian energy”, stop the completion of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project and cancel multi-billion dollar nuclear power plant construction projects with Rosatom.
Relationships are at their lowest and could get worse
Also on Wednesday, European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell told reporters that relations between Moscow and Brussels were at a “low point” and could deteriorate further in the future. Borrell accused Russia of “pretending” to be a neutral mediator in the conflict in eastern Ukraine and asserted that Moscow was not interested in achieving the Minsk accords.
“So far, Russia has shown no willingness to end the conflict under conditions that would guarantee the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of Ukraine. For Russia, the full implementation of the Minsk agreement is not a key condition. For us, it is “he alleged.
Under the terms of the Minsk accords, signed in early 2015 in the Belarusian capital after months of brutal fighting between Kiev forces and militias in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, the breakaways would return to Ukrainian jurisdiction in exchange for a large autonomy. Both sides have kept their promises to stop the fighting and move heavy military equipment away from the contact line, but implementation of the deal has since been stalled as Ukrainian lawmakers refuse to implement the legislation. granting the autonomy of Donbass.
Earlier Wednesday, in an interview with Sputnik, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov accused Western nations of trying to convince Moscow to “relax” the Minsk accords and change the implementation sequence. of its provisions, and warned that this would lead to a massacre of its inhabitants.