Sanctions against Russia: a parliamentary motion approved


On 25 June 2015, the Chamber of Deputies was called upon to vote on several parliamentary motions concerning initiatives aimed at lifting the sanctions of the European Union against the Russian Federation and the achievement of a politico-diplomatic solution to the crisis in Ukraine. The Deputy Minister of Economic Development, Mr Carlo Calenda, illustrated to the Chamber the opinion of the Government with regard to those motions. He stated:

Italy carried out and will continue to carry out, in connection with its European and international partners, a constructive role in order to facilitate the resolution of the crisis and bring the relations with Moscow back to complete normality. However, this commitment cannot disregard the necessity to safeguard, above all, the principle of territorial integrity, which represents the reason behind the sanctions adopted against the Russian Federation. The Government considers that when this principle is called into question at the gates of Europe, its safeguard is not only a duty towards the principles of international law and legality, but also, and above all, a necessary act in order to protect national interests that go well beyond those of trade.

The Chamber subsequently approved Motion no. 1-00920, presented by MPs Cicchitto, Amendola, Mazziotti Di Celso, Marazziti, Locatelli and others, on which the Government had previously expressed its favorable opinion. Hereunder are the most relevant parts of the Motion:

The Chamber of Deputies, provided that:

 In the affair concerning the sanctions against Russia we need to be aware that there are geo-political reasons that prevail over those of economic character, since [these sanctions] did constitute the most responsible and contained response to the politico-military initiatives taken by the Russian Government towards Ukraine;

Russia patently violated the sovereignty, territorial integrity, and independence of Ukraine, both by means of its unlawful annexation of Crimea, and the direct and indirect military assistance provided to separatist groups in Donbass, in open violation of international conventions;

Lastly, actions of propaganda, forms of economic and financial pressure – also through the management of energy supplies – as well as episodes of military violation of the airspace and territorial waters fostering international tension, are repeated;

As regards the Ukrainian crisis, in order to avoid military solutions and, conversely, in the perspective of a negotiated solution at the diplomatic level, the Minsk agreements have been signed, which, however, are not ultimately being applied because of the persistence of frequent violations of the ceasefire, the failed completion of both the withdrawal of heavy weapons and the exchanges of prisoners, as well as the lack of developments with regard to the institutional reforms in Ukraine and the holding of local elections in Donbass;

The international community decided to put in place sanction mechanisms with respect to Russia, as the only instrument of pressure aimed at deterring the Russian Government from its interferences and violations of international law;

Within this framework, in July 2014 the European Union decided to impose a package of sanctions against Russia that target the sectors of defense and energy, as well as the Russian financial system, and that Italy, as a member of the European Union, obviously applies;

The agreement between the European Governments established that such measures should remain in force until the deadline set by the Minsk peace agreements so that these are fully and completely implemented (31 December 2015). To this end the European Union decided to extend for additional six months, until January 2016, the expiring sanctions;

[…] sanctions, although they represent an extra-ordinary instrument and cannot be considered the optimal means for the solution of problems, in so far as they import sacrifices both for the populations subjected to them and the States enacting them, are nevertheless an inevitable solution, one agreed upon at the international level;

The effectiveness of sanctions against Russia is inseparable form the maintenance of a unanimous consent on the part of the international community and their possible unilateral lifting on the part of our country would constitute a grave and dangerous signal of weakening of the western position and an implicit legitimation of the violations committed by Russia in Ukraine;

Italy considers that the main way should be that of mediation. The aim should be that of guaranteeing the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine with means that lead Russia to cease all those actions that provoked the imposition of sanctions;

It is desirable that all parties put an end to the violations of the Minsk agreements and integrally implement their content by accomplishing the requests of the international community and that, in the light of this, it will be possible to re-establish, within a reasonably short period of time, a situation of normal relations with Russia,

pledges the Government:

To intensify and strengthen its politico-diplomatic action towards Russia, in order to urge the Russian Government to implement the Minsk agreements, exercise its influence on the separatists and be back in compliance with international law in Ukraine;

At the same time, to encourage the Ukrainian Government to fulfill the institutional reforms required under the Minsk agreement, so that a system assuring a degree of decentralization and a special status for the Russian-speaking areas of Donbass could be implemented;

To support with strong conviction the action of the European Union and any further effort of the international community going in the same direction and, in this framework, to start a discussion at the European Union level on possible compensative measures to support those businesses and supply-chain systems most affected by the Russian embargo;

[…] To act in conformity with the decisions of the international community as to the sanctions against Russia, keeping them in place until a different decision will be adopted by common deliberation on the basis of positive developments and a restored compliance with international law.

The full text of the statement and the parliamentary motion (in Italian) can be downloaded here.




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