“Thursday 24 February 2022 has sadly changed the course of history, with the start of the Russian Federation’s aggression against Ukraine. There is no alternative to peace and constructive dialogue, but there are legally binding rules and principles that must be fully respected during an armed conflict,” said PACE President Tiny Kox.
“I spoke earlier today with the Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine Olha Stefanyshyn and the Chair of the Ukrainian delegation to PACE Maria Mezentzeva, who raised the issue of the dire humanitarian situation of some towns blocked by Russian military forces.
I therefore urge the Russian Federation to respect its obligations under international humanitarian law, notably the 1949 Geneva Conventions and their additional protocols, which provides that the civilian population and those no longer taking part in the fighting, such as prisoners, the wounded and sick, are protected. This is a legal obligation that knows no exceptions.
The Russian Federation must ensure that humanitarian aid, medical assistance and supplies, as well as deliveries of food, reach without hindrance all those for whom they are intended, especially the most vulnerable people, including the elderly, women, children and the disabled. To ensure this, humanitarian corridors must be opened to avoid any disruption to essential services such as water, food, power and health facilities. I urge the Russian Federation to do so immediately.
I commend the efforts of humanitarian organisations that are working tirelessly to reach out to all those in need, and I am confident they will continue.”