Describing Russia’s aggression against Ukraine as “an act of unprecedented gravity” with far-reaching consequences worldwide, PACE’s Political Affairs Committee has made a strong call for unity in supporting Ukraine and for putting maximum pressure on the Russian Federation to cease its aggression, as well as “decisive action” by the international community to defend the democratic world order.
Approving a draft resolution and recommendation on the basis of a report by Frank Schwabe (Germany, SOC), the committee declared: “A new dividing line is back on the map of Europe, drawn by the Russian authorities with their rhetoric and deeds.”
Russia’s aggression had also, among other things, provoked the direst humanitarian crisis in Europe since the Second World War, posed a challenge to global governance, and led to a steep rise in energy costs and food insecurity, the parliamentarians pointed out.
“It is not only the magnitude of the current challenge but also the Council of Europe and its member States’ response to it which will shape the future of European history,” they said.
The committee confirmed, in the strongest terms, its condemnation of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, and its solidarity with Ukraine and its people, reaffirming its unwavering support for the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognised borders.
The committee said it was “alarmed at the mounting evidence of atrocities committed by Russian armed forces” and expressed its full support for all efforts aimed at investigating violations by Russia of international human rights and international humanitarian law and other international crimes, including crimes against humanity and genocide, and ensuring the accountability of the aggressor.
At the same time, the committee also proposed intensifying the Council of Europe’s engagement with Belarusian and Russian civil society, human rights defenders, independent journalists, academia and democratic forces which respect the Organisation’s values and principles.
The report is due to be discussed by the Assembly on Wednesday 27 April during its spring plenary session in Strasbourg.