Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Relations with Russia

Delivered in Plenary - 21st October 2008

Mr President

I would like to pay a special tribute to Mr Sarkozy, under the French presidency, for ensuring that 90% of the six-point plan has been complied with in terms of troop withdrawal from Georgia. I think the Russian leadership under Mr Putin and Medvedev have belatedly realised that their disproportionate aggression in Georgia was a mistake, as they still need good relations with the West or face economic ruin. Furthermore, only Venezuela, Nicaragua and terrorist Hamas have actually recognised South Ossetia and Abkhazia, which is an embarrassment to their Government, and their closest allies, such as Belarus and Uzbekistan, have resisted such pressures to go along with Russia’s new and recently discovered concept of self-determination, which was never applied to the Chechens.

Russia must understand that 19th-century spheres of influence do not apply to the modern world, and hands off Ukraine, and in particular Crimea; hands off Moldova, or the South Caucasus republics for the future. Their territorial integrity must be respected by Moscow in the future.