Gianni Pittella: The choice on further sanctions in Russia is fully in Putin’s hands

Gianni Pittella: The choice on further sanctions in Russia is fully in Putin’s hands

During this week’s mission to Washington DC, the president of the Socialists and Democrats Group in the European Parliament, Gianni Pittella, gave a speech on the ‘Euro-Atlantic relationship’ in front of students from the prestigious Johns Hopkins University.

The S&D delegation visiting Washington DC is also composed of S&D vice-presidents Knut Fleckenstein and Tanja Fajon, and Bernd Lange, chair of the parliamentary international trade committee and the European Parliament’s Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) rapporteur.

Discussing on the peace process of the conflict in Ukraine, S&D president Gianni Pittella stated:

“The choice on further sanctions against the Russian people and their economy is fully in Putin’s hands. Regarding Russia’s movements against Ukraine, Europe should clearly state that the sanctions will increase in proportion to the level of infringement of the Minsk agreements. In addition, Europe should make it clear to Russia that the de-escalation of the conflict in Ukraine will immediately benefit Russia’s economy and society in terms of a gradual lifting of sanctions.

“Europe must avoid dividing itself over this issue; as this would have a negative influence on the peace process between Kiev and Moscow. Russia is and always will be a key player on the world scale, especially in the fight against terrorism in the Middle East, the Mediterranean conflicts and in relationships with Iran. We therefore have to keep an open dialogue.”

S&D vice-president, Knut Fleckenstein, also commented:

“It has to be clear that a military solution is not an option. This is the reason why a suggestion coming from the U.S. Congress to make a delivery of weapons to Ukraine possible is not helping the situation. Aggression, without a clearly outlined strategy for peace, could lead the international community into further trouble. The past experiences in Iraq and in Libya are clear reminders of military intervention.”