PACE President Tiny Kox, in a message to mark the 31st anniversary of the independence of Ukraine, has again pledged the Council of Europe’s full support in the coming months and years, adding: “Ukraine needs Europe, and Europe needs Ukraine”.
“I want to express my admiration for the courage and resilience of the Ukrainian people in defending their freedom against the illegal aggression by the Russian Federation, which has already caused so much harm and devastation,” said the President in a short video message.
He recalled that the Council of Europe was the first international body to react to Russia’s illegal aggression, suspending it from the organisation within days and expelling it altogether within weeks.
PACE unanimously proposed this immediate reaction, he pointed out, which was “a unique sign of European solidarity with the people and the state of Ukraine”.
He added: “We will continue to stand with Ukraine and to support Ukraine in this tragic moment of its history. Our priority is to help to end this war that should have never been started, and to assist in reconstructing your country, for the benefit of all your citizens.”
The President also praised the Verkhovna Rada, the Ukrainian parliament, for continuing its work of democratic scrutiny, and urged Ukraine to remain fully committed to the values of democracy, human rights and the rule of law, “however difficult that may sometimes be”.
Independence day is the main state holiday in Ukraine, celebrated on 24 August to mark the 1991 Declaration of Independence.