Belgium (Brussels Morning Newspaper) Ukraine remains firmly on the EU agenda, both with EU leaders and for MEPs.
The ongoing war in the country will be the subject of a week of special events in the European Parliament next week, back after its recess.
Before that, though, at their meeting in Hiroshima, we, the leaders of the G7, have reaffirmed their commitment to “stand together against Russia’s illegal, unjustifiable, and unprovoked war of aggression against Ukraine.”
The leaders, including several from EU member states, issued a joint statement on Friday.
It reads: “We condemn, in the strongest terms, Russia’s manifest violation of the Charter of the United Nations (UN) and the impact of Russia’s war on the rest of the world.”
It goes on: “15 months of Russia’s aggression has cost thousands of lives, inflicted immense suffering on the people of Ukraine, and imperiled access to food and energy for many of the world’s most vulnerable people.
“We express our full sympathy and condolences to the Ukrainian people for their loss and suffering. We salute the Ukrainian people for their brave resistance. Our support for Ukraine will not waver. We will not tire in our commitment to mitigate the impact of Russia’s illegal actions on the rest of the world.”
The leaders added, “We are taking new steps to ensure that Russia’s illegal aggression against the sovereign state of Ukraine fails and to support the Ukrainian people in their quest for a just peace rooted in respect for international law.
“We are renewing our commitment to provide the financial, humanitarian, military, and diplomatic support Ukraine requires for as long as it takes.
“We are imposing further sanctions and measures to increase the costs to Russia and those who are supporting its war effort and we are taking steps to support partners worldwide as they navigate the suffering caused by the Russia’s war, including through humanitarian assistance.”
The leaders in the statement said, “We are also building on the success of our efforts to ensure that Russia is no longer able to weaponize the availability of energy against us and against the world.”
They said that since February 2022, they had adopted sanctions, import bans, and other measures to reduce dependence on Russia’s source of energy and had launched a price cap on Russian oil and petroleum products.
“This is working. Russia’s revenues are down. Global oil and gas prices have fallen significantly, benefiting countries around the world,” the concluded.
Meanwhile, next Tuesday, Members of the Committee on Agriculture in the EU Parliament will exchange views on Ukraine with representatives of the Commission. According to the ECR Group, the EU “could quickly help Ukraine and developing countries in need of Ukrainian grain by buying it and giving it to developing countries as humanitarian aid and by providing the necessary transport.”
Also on Tuesday, Polish MEP Anna Fotyga will host a conference dedicated to drawing attention to the situation of Crimean Tatars in Crimea and what is called “the increased persecution, discrimination and stigmatisation that they face since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.”
The conference brings together human rights experts, academics, Ukrainian officials and ethnic Crimean Tatars to discuss “the serious human rights violations committed by the occupying forces against the indigenous people of Crimea.”
Another event next week will see Ambassador Vsevolod Chentsov, Head of the Mission of Ukraine to the European Union, jointly hosting a photo exhibition focusing on the stories of the people of Crimea.
An ECR statement said, “The photos belong to Ukrainian journalists who not only reported on human rights violations in occupied Crimea but also documented the lives of the families of political prisoners from 2014 – 2019.”
In response to their reporting, Alina Smutko, Taras Ibragimov and Aliona Savchuk were banned from entering Crimea and the Russian Federation for 10 – 35 years.