Rebecca Harms: Ukraine-Russia Border Must Be Sealed to End Armed Conflict


Kyiv, July 21, 2014. Today the primary means to end the terror in eastern Ukraine is to seal the borderline between Ukraine and Russia. This was stated by Rebecca Harms, Co-chair of the Green party in the European Parliament during her press briefing at the Ukraine Crisis Media Center, after eye-witnessing the conflict in the eastern Ukrainian cities of Artemivsk and Slavyansk.

The primary and the most efficient step to be taken for deescalating the tension in eastern Ukraine is to close the border with the Russian Federation. Such measure will suspend, or halt, the indirect support terrorists receive from Russia. Harms noted that it should be a joint, unified and coordinated effort for the European leaders to address Vladimir Putin, Russian President, as he is perceived as the key stakeholder in ending the Ukrainian crisis.  “The main task of the international community is to do everything possible to stop further escalation of the conflict,” she said.

“My biggest fear is, as we saw it in other conflicts in the past decades, that Ukraine is trapped; it was driven to the war it never wanted,” said the MP at her press briefing.  The MH17 tragedy shook the entire world and brought the international community to realization that they should not allow the war in Ukraine. In case the border cannot be shut down by other means, the official is convinced that the UN should send ‘blue helmets’ to Ukraine.

In case the Europe is not able to facilitate the shutting down of the Ukraine-Russia border, the EU sanctions against Russia should follow immediately, added the European official. She also noted that though the EU has not yet fully imposed sanctions against Russia, after the MH17 tragedy took place, they must be applied immediately. At the upcoming session of the European Parliament, Harms expects the adoption of a unified set of measures, which would stop Russia’s indirect support of the terrorists. Rebecca Harms also added that after returning to Brussels, she would be calling for the urgent meeting of the Foreign Affairs Committee, EP, to address the Ukraine crisis.

Referring to economic sanctions, the MP pointed out that Germany and Italy have close ties with Russian energy companies, while the city of London directly depends on Russian businesses. Despite the close ties, sanctions are necessary to peacefully resolve the conflict.

Finally, commenting on the Mistral deal between France and Russia, Harms said that the deal was “directly against the very concept of sanctions.” The official noted with regret that recently several hundred Russian soldiers were deployed to France to start training on the Mistral battleship. “Import of Mistrals would be a threat to both the EU and NATO.” At the same time, Harms is hopeful for NATO to take the warships instead, and, therefore, put the conflict on the way to its resolution.