European Socialists say dialogue with Russia is important but might not be enough

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The President of the S&D Group in the European Parliament, Iratxe Garcia Perez, insisted that while dialogue and negotiations should be the key tools to solve the current escalation in Ukraine, “civilians cannot be left to die on their own”, in an apparent moving opening to the possibility of military support to the war-torn country.

While left-wing parties have traditionally opposed the use of military solutions in conflicts around the globe, the Russian invasion of Ukraine has brought a seismic change in the way socialist parties approach this issue. Garcia Perez said that while work on diplomacy is ongoing, one side in the conflict is being besieged suffering attacks and casualties from another parties.

In a press briefing in Strasbourg, the MEP said that “we do not want to leave Ukrainians who are defending the values of freedom and democracies on their own”, insisting that these were after all European values.

Over 20 countries have pledged or delivered billions of dollars of military hardware to Ukraine over the past two months.

The shift in the approach of left-leaning parties was already evident earlier this month with Germany deciding to send 1,000 anti-tank weapons and 500 surface-to-air missiles to Ukraine “as quickly as possible.” “The Russian invasion of Ukraine marks a turning point. It threatens our entire post-war order,” German Chancellor Olaf Scholz had said.

Meanwhile the S&D Group in the European Parliament said that it supports a ban on citizenship based investment schemes that unfairly allow wealthy foreign investors to buy EU rights such as free movement. S&D MEPs also firmly support an amendment tabled since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine that calls for member states to withdraw the citizenship and residency rights, granted through investment schemes, of anyone with links to Putin’s regime and who is facing EU sanctions.

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