Commenting on the outcome of today's Council of EU foreign ministers in response to the referendum held yesterday in the Crimea, Greens/EFA co-president Rebecca Harms stated:
"Today's decision by foreign ministers is welcome. Sanctions are the correct response to Russia's actions in the Crimea. If Russia continues to disregard international diplomatic efforts, further sanctions must follow.
"The EU must now do everything possible to safeguard the rights of minorities in the Crimea. It must continue to insist that a strong OSCE observer mission travels immediately to the east of Ukraine and the Crimea. The preparation and conduct of the election in May must be without pressure.
"The proposed financial assistance to Ukraine is also welcome. The country needs not only our money but also advice and assistance in its reform process, for example against corruption. Funds must be directed to where they are needed."
Green MEP and vice-chair of the EU-Russia Parliamentary Cooperation Committee Werner Schulz added:
"Putin's actions in Ukraine represent the return of aggressive nationalism, which aims to reunify Russians beyond Russia's borders. Turning a blind eye to 'keep the peace' will only confirm Putin in his aggression course. Only the resolute defense of international law can secure a peaceful future for us and our eastern neighbors.
"If Russia continues to deny any negotiations with the OSCE, EU heads of state and government have to impose economic sanctions on Thursday, even if it has an impact on the EU itself. There can be no appeasement because of economic interests."