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PACE debates the crisis in Ukraine

There needs to be a permanent and durable ceasefire in Ukraine, together with the unconditional and complete withdrawal of foreign troops from the country, said Stefan Schennach (Austria, SOC) opening today’s current affairs debate on the crisis in Ukraine.

He called for the restoration of Ukraine’s sovereignty and borders, while urging ongoing dialogue between Ukraine and its neighbour Russia to resolve the conflict. He also called for the full investigation of any war-crimes perpetrated so far, and warned that Ukraine was “on the verge of a humanitarian catastrophe”.

The Council of Europe’s Human Rights Commissioner Nils Muiznieks, who recently visited Crimea, reported to the Assembly on the human rights situation there. Recent intrusive raids on the Crimean Tatars had shattered this community, he said, and should be stopped.

So-called “self-defence forces” in Crimea had also been involved in serious human rights violations including abductions, the Commissioner said, while there were also concerns about media freedom: a number of critical outlets had been shut down, and journalists had received warnings or had equipment confiscated.

He too appealed for urgent aid from the international community to help Ukraine deal both with short-term humanitarian needs and longer-term reconstruction.

Nearly sixty parliamentarians put their names down to speak in the debate. There is no report for a current affairs debate, and no text is adopted.