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The illegal annexation of Crimea has no legal effect and is not recognised by the Council of Europe

Strasbourg, 09.04.2014 – “The so-called referendum” in Crimea was unconstitutional. Its outcome and “the illegal annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation therefore have no legal effect and are not recognised by the Council of Europe”, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) stated today in an resolution adopted at the end of an urgent debate.

The parliamentarians said that none of the arguments used by the Russian Federation to justify its actions hold true to facts and evidence. “The drive for secession and integration into the Russian Federation was instigated and incited by the Russian authorities, under the cover of a military intervention”, the resolution underlined, while recommending that the signatories of the Budapest Agreement, as well as other relevant European States, “explore the possibility for tangible security agreements to ensure Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity”.

The Assembly fully recognised the legitimacy of the new authorities in Kyiv and the Verkovna Rada, “as well as the legality of their decisions” and regretted attempts to question the legitimacy of the new authorities, “which can only serve to destabilise the country”.

The east-west divide in the country “is mostly of political origin”, despite the clear historical and cultural differences. While objecting to any notion of federalisation, the parliamentarians recommended that the authorities develop “an inclusive strategy to strengthen local and regional authorities and to decentralise government”.

The parliamentarians considered that the change of power had opened a window of opportunity for Ukraine’s democratic development. They urged the Verkhovna Rada to adopt the constitutional amendments necessary to establish a better balance of power between President and legislature and to bring the Constitution fully into line with Council of Europe standards.

“All fatalities and all human rights abuses that occurred in relation to the Euromaidan protests need to be fully investigated and the perpetrators, including those in the line of command, brought to justice,” the parliamentarians said.

The resolution adopted was based on a full report on “Recent developments in Ukraine: threats to the functioning of democratic institutions” prepared by the co-rapporteurs of PACE’s Monitoring Committee, Mailis Reps (Estonia, ALDE) and Marietta de Pourbaix-Lundin (Sweden, EPP/CD).

The adopted text will be available by clicking here.