Lawmakers urge NATO nations to maintain sanctions and pressure on Moscow
Stavanger, 11 October 2015 – NATO governments should consider tougher economic sanctions if Moscow fails to respect a ceasefire agreement in eastern Ukraine, lawmakers from the NATO Parliamentary Assembly said Saturday.
The resolution is expected to be adopted by the full Assembly on Monday at the end of the NATO PA’s annual session, held this year in the Norwegian port of Stavanger.
It added that existing sanctions should be maintained as long as Russia fails to fully implement the Minsk ceasefire agreement signed in the capital of Belarus in February.
The draft says NATO governments should provide “comprehensive support” to the Ukrainian government and seek to weaken Russia’s economic leverage by reducing Europe’s reliance on Russian oil and gas.
NATO PA members stressed that the West wanted to maintain communications with Moscow despite the tensions over Ukraine and, more recently, Russia’s military action in Syria.
“We have to continue dialogue,” said Ojars Eriks Kalnins, Head of Latvia’s delegation to NATO PA. “The door is not closed … Ultimately it’s up to Russia to walk through that door and start cooperating.”
Kalnins presented a report approved by the NATO PA’s Political Committee that urged the Alliance to maintain a “united and firm” response to Russian actions. It added however that NATO should try to “re-vitalise the vision of a Europe whole and free in which Russia finds a constructive role.”
Several speakers at the Assembly emphasized their concern over Russia’s efforts to build up its military power.
“Russia is upgrading its military capabilities significantly, and has demonstrated both willingness and ability to use force to achieve its strategic goals,” cautioned Norwegian Defence Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide.