The EU International Trade Committee, INTA, has voted to fast track a free trade deal with Ukraine in a quick vote, despite warnings from UKIP MEPs that such a move could be perceived as provocative by Russia. Amjad Bashir and William Dartmouth led calls for the EU to show sensitivity due to tensions with Russia, warning that a rushed deal with the beleaguered state and her neighbours could be regarded as provocative by Putin.
Despite opposition, the Committee pressed ahead with a vote for Association Agreements with Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova. Supporters of the move argued for the need for expedience due to mounting political crisis in the region. The Committee also discussed EU/Russia relations, which have dramatically deteriorated following a series of mutual sanctions over the summer.
Amjad Bashir called the move 'sheer arrogance' and expressed dismay at 'bullish behaviour that could result in a direct threat to people's freedoms and lives'.
"It is remarkable that the EU method of diplomacy is far from delicate. In the very same meeting, they recognised a deteriorated relationship with Russia, yet express sheer arrogance with this sort of EU-centric, imperlialist, bullish behaviour that could result in a direct threat to people's freedoms and lives. In no way am I condoning Russia's position regarding Ukraine, but it is surely vital during a period of political crisis that nothing is done to fan the flames. Putin has only just today suggested he is close to finding a resolution with Ukraine. I hope that this latest move by the EU does not end up being perceived as red rag to a bull."