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A moment of silence for the victims of "a brutal war that never should have started"

Opening the first ever extraordinary session of PACE in Strasbourg, held “to allow the member states’ parliaments to thoroughly investigate the consequences of the Russian Federation’s aggression against Ukraine,” President Tiny Kox invited the Assembly to stand for a moment of silence “to show respect for all these people who have become victims of this brutal war that never should have started and therefore should now immediately stop.”

“By illegally crossing the Ukrainian border, the Russian Federation also crossed the red line of this organisation which the Council of Europe formulated already in 1949 in its Statute. Articles 1 and 3 make it obligatory that every member State of the Council of Europe must collaborate sincerely and effectively in the realization of the aim of the Council of Europe, which is to achieve greater unity between the members for the purpose of safeguarding the ideals and principles which are our common heritage,” he recalled.

“After convening this session, I have received a letter from the Chairperson of the Committee of Ministers’ Deputies, asking our Assembly to give, in accordance with Statutory Resolution 51 (30) a formal Opinion on potential further use of Article 8 of the Statute of the Council of Europe. Art. 8 says that any member of the Council of Europe which has seriously violated article 3 may be suspended from its rights of representation and requested by the Committee of Ministers to withdraw. If such member does not comply with this request, the Committee may decide that it has ceased to be a member of the Council as from such date the Committee may determine.”

“Our debate will have two components,” he continued. “Today we will receive information, directly from Ukraine, and from the Committee of Ministers and our Secretary General. Tomorrow we will debate the draft Opinion prepared by the Political Affairs Committee, a debate where we might have to take decisions which this Assembly has never been asked to take in the past seven decades,” said Tiny Kox.

He warmly welcomed “the members of the Ukrainian delegation, partly present here, partly connected online from Ukraine” and thanked the Ukrainian delegation and its Chairperson Mariia Mezentseva for keeping him updated since the beginning of Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine on its consequences. “May I express the hope, on behalf of all of us, that this war will end, and peace will come as soon as possible for all our Ukrainian colleagues and all citizens of our beleaguered member State Ukraine. If you share this hope, I invite you to stand and applaud.”

He also thanked the authorities of the Organisation’s member states as well as their citizens “for showing an immense concrete solidarity with those who are now seeking shelter. Today, tomorrow and in the future. International solidarity is needed now and will be needed in the years to come, as the humanitarian consequences of armed aggression will be immense and will last long,” he concluded.