“I am proud and saddened to have been in Kyiv on 24 February this year to commemorate the start of the atrocities, to reiterate my group’s support – and I believe the support of this Assembly too – for Ukraine and our colleagues, and to remember the victims,” said Iulian Bulai (Romania, ALDE) before inviting PACE members to stand for a minute of silence for “the Ukrainian children, women and men who have died in this terrible war”.
Opening a current affairs debate on ‘Supporting Ukraine one year since the beginning of the Russian Federation’s large-scale war of aggression: the role of the Council of Europe’, Mr Bulai underlined that this year, “beyond the war and its atrocities on the ground, we have seen in the Council of Europe the struggle of an international organisation that was created for everlasting peace and ever-closer union having to adapt to a situation of war”.
“We have come a long way since 24 February 2022, from an organisation not equipped to deal with this level of aggression and war between member states to an organisation that is realising the role it should and could be playing. We clearly can do more on accountability and justice in order to have peace on our continent,” he added.
“What have we done? We have excluded the aggressor from this organisation, we have unanimously stood by the victims, we were present on the ground and have prepared numerous reports on several issues (the rule of law, human rights, accountability, the defence of women and children, culture, the environment, etc) and we continue our work in order to build an effective system of accountability.