Petr David Josek
Protesters gather outside the Russian Embassy in Prague. Two weeks ago, the Czech Republic expelled 18 diplomats as spies because of an explosion in an ammunition depot in 2014. Photo: Petr David Josek / AP / dpa
One must act quickly and decisively against disruptive measures by the Russian intelligence services in the EU, it said in a decision on Thursday. Unity of the EU countries towards Russia is the best strategy.
The Czech Republic accuses Russian secret services of being responsible for explosions in an ammunition dump in Vrbetice in the east of the country in 2014, which left two dead. The Kremlin vehemently denies the allegations. In the political conflict that followed the allegation, the countries mutually expelled dozens of diplomats. Individual other EU states then also expelled Russian diplomats.
The EU parliamentary resolution said that the hostile behavior of Russia was strongly condemned and that Russian attacks on EU countries such as meddling in electoral processes, the spread of disinformation and the use of chemical warfare agents would end. With regard to the explosions in the Czech Republic, MEPs demanded compensation for the victims’ families from Russia. Those responsible should be held accountable.
The European Parliament was also concerned about the situation in eastern Ukraine and how it was dealing with the Kremlin critic Alexej Navalny. The Russian armed forces should withdraw completely and immediately from the border with Ukraine, and Navalny should be released immediately.
MEPs regretted the current state of relations with Moscow. Any continuation of a constructive bilateral agenda would be prevented by Russia’s actions, it said in the decision paper. The EU foreign representative Josep Borrell had sworn the parliament in plenary on Wednesday on a possible long, hard phase in the relations with Russia. They are at a low point again and cannot rule out the possibility that the negative trend will continue.