VIEWS EXPRESSED HERE ARE THE VIEWS OF THE NATIONAL DELEGATION AND DO NOT ALWAYS REFLECT THE VIEWS OF THE GROUP AS A WHOLE

Strasbourg, European Parliament, 17 April 2018.

"We have to conclude that all of us are in the same boat.

It is clear that Kremlin's strategic goal is to target us all, to weaken and demolish the very foundations of the democratic rule of law system, ignore international norms of conduct and to apply everywhere a reckless policy of brutal force and lies.

One colleague here has recommended respect for Russian national interests.  May I ask, what were the national interests of Hitler?  This is not about Russian interests but about the interests of Mr. Putin and his criminal associates.

The leaders of non-EU country should cherish hopes that they can make exceptions and bargain better positions with Mr Putin. Today, such a hope is not just short-sighted – it is a criminal lack of responsibility and solidarity.

For any act that weakens solidarity and the defence of our basic principles and security, we will all soon have to pay a price many times higher.

Immediate requirement is to agree on tough new sanctions targeting responsible individuals among Russian elites.  Recent measures applied by US and UK showed that they have already touched a raw nerve.

At the same time, we need to focus on supporting Russian civil society and human rights defenders.

Russia is as strong as the EU is divided and hesitant.  Russia can be successfully contained and brought to its senses— but only from a position of strength."

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