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Ukrainian Prime Minister demands that Russia be immediately ousted from the Council of Europe

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, addressing an extraordinary session of PACE by video-link, has demanded that the Russian Federation be immediately ousted from the Council of Europe.

“The right to life is one of the key fundamental rights – and today, at the centre of Europe, this right is being violated every minute and every second,” he pointed out, speaking after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was earlier unable to make a planned address.

“There must be a tough response. Those who carried out this unprovoked and unjustified aggression cannot remain in this European family - where human life is regarded as the highest value.”

“Ukraine is on fire,” the Prime Minister pointed out. “We have to join our efforts not only to defend Ukraine, but to defend all of Europe today. We must stop the aggression, to prevent nuclear disaster, to stop all of Europe from catching fire.”

“Today Russia is saying that there is no war – that nobody has declared war, that this is just a ‘special military operation’. […] But I can tell you that Russia and President Putin have started a full-scale war in the centre of Europe, one that could turn into a Third World War.”

Mr Shmyhal accused Russian leaders of carrying out gross violations of the laws of war, but said that punishment for what he called “terrorism and genocide” could not be avoided. He reiterated his government’s call to “close the sky” over Ukraine by creating a no-fly zone, and urged an end to the “lies and hatred” being disseminated via Russian propaganda.

The Prime Minister also sincerely thanked neighbouring countries of Ukraine for their support and solidarity. “To all those who have offered shelter, warmth, hospitality and attention to our women, to our children, thank you – these are the true values of our common European family.”

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