By Agnes Szucs
BRUSSELS (AA) - The European Parliament condemned the Russian military buildup around Ukraine on Thursday and urged countries not to make the Nord Stream 2 pipeline operational.
In a resolution adopted 548-69, with 54 abstentions, EU lawmakers condemned the buildup and demanded that Moscow immediately withdraw forces, the European Parliament said in a statement.
It pointed out that the massive concentration of troops presents “a threat to peace, stability, and security in Europe” which can be used as a “tool to extract political concessions from the West at Ukraine’s expense.”
Referring to Ukraine’s aspirations to join NATO, EU lawmakers rejected Russia’s attempts to expand its sphere of influence on neighboring countries by determining which alliances they can join.
According to the European Parliament, EU countries should prepare economic and financial sanctions in case of Russian aggression against Ukraine.
The measures should target Russian military officers responsible for planning an invasion, as well as the immediate circle and oligarchs “in the orbit of the Russian President and their families.”
EU lawmakers also warned member countries to reduce the bloc’s energy dependence on Russia and urged them not to make operational the recently finished Nord Stream 2 pipeline that is meant to transport gas from Russia to Germany.
In a separate document, the European Parliament condemned the Russian government’s “politically motivated attempts” to shut down on the human rights organization, Memorial, and called on the bloc’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell to propose sanctions against those responsible for the repression of the organization.
In 2014, Russia began to support separatist forces in eastern Ukraine against the central government, a policy that it has maintained for the past seven years.
For the second time this year, Moscow concentrated significant military troops in and around Ukraine.