RIGA - Strong sanctions is the last chance to stop open warfare in Ukraine, said Latvian MEP Inese Vaidere (New Unity).
Girts Salmgriezis, the Latvian spokesman for the European People's Party group, told LETA that, according to Vaidere, the lies that could be heard in Russian President Vladimir Putin's address reminded of the Soviet-time history books that were full of absurd and distorted facts.
"In other times, this might make us smile, but not today when the Kremlin starts an open military aggression in Ukraine's sovereign territory. Strong Western sanctions should be put against it because the power is the only language Russia understands," said Vaidere.
The MEP said that with a decree on independence of Ukraine's separatist regions, Putin presents another provocation, openly and repeatedly violating Ukraine's independence and such international agreements and the Budapest memorandum on Ukraine's territorial integrity and Minsk agreement on ceasing warfare in eastern Ukraine.
"The way the EU and allies will react will determine further development of the conflict. Without strong sanctions, there are high risks and Putin will not stop. Therefore, swift actions are necessary, including on Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, expelling Russia from international financial system, imposing individual sanctions on people who are responsible for attack on Ukraine's statehood," the politician said.
The politician said that targeted sanctions on accounts in Western banks, suspension of visas, travel bans in the EU should be applied not only on a few Russian officials, but also on the Russian president, his administration, the Russian State Duma lawmakers and their family members.
Vaidere said that Ukraine should receive all necessary support from the Western countries, including military equipment and economic assistance.
Vaidere also said that Western leaders should stop hoping that a diplomatic agreement is possible with the Kremlin. "The Baltic states already warned about it. We should change the strategy, enforce actions and tone," she said.
As reported, Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday signed a decree on recognition of independence of Ukrainian separatist republics and the treaties on friendship, cooperation and mutual aid.
On Monday evening, Putin ordered the Defense Ministry to ensure that the Russian armed forces "maintained peace" in the eastern Ukrainian territories that have already been occupied earlier by bringing Russian armies in them.