Opening a debate on “Consequences of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine and role of national Parliaments in Ukraine’s reconstruction” at the European Conference of Presidents of Parliament, the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, Ruslan Stefanchuk, reminded attendees about the daily consequences of Russia's unprovoked aggression against Ukraine and the mission of the democratic world coalition “to put an end to the Russian dictatorship and prevent the destruction of democracy’s basic principles".
Mr Stefanchuk recalled the Ukrainian peace formula proposed by Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, based on the philosophy that “victory is the creation of a reliable system to prevent war in the future". He invited the parliamentarians to join the "difficult but necessary work at parliamentary level”, as the formula is universal and involves not only Ukraine but the territorial integrity of all members of the international community.
Mr Stefanchuk thanked the Council of Europe for “its unwavering support in helping Ukraine to overcome the consequences of Russian aggression, including the creation of the International Register of Damage — which he described as "a beam of hope for the countless victims, and a first step towards establishing an international compensation mechanism for those affected by Russian aggression.”
Finally, he welcomed that some countries have already started processes to confiscate and transfer frozen Russian assets to Ukraine as reparations. “This is a complex legal issue and a task for us, for legislators, but I believe that you and your parliaments are ready for this work,” he added.
The role of national parliaments in post-conflict reconstruction is crucial. “We urge you to support us not only financially but also with your knowledge, experience, and commitment to the principles of international law,” concluded Mr Stefanchuk.
The Speaker of the UK House of Commons, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, began by recalling the foundational principles upon which the Council of Europe was built — human rights, democracy, and the rule of law. “The reaction to Russian aggression in Ukraine is testament to the enduring importance of those values,” he stressed.
“In 2022, Russia ceased to be a member of the organisation. Ukraine has already fought a long war, and the war continues,” underlined Sir Lindsay. “The losses sustained so far are immense, and Ukraine will need all support to repair them. We owe it to them to stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes,” he added.
Sir Lindsay highlighted several initiatives already underway to aid Ukraine in its reconstruction. “In June this year, over 60 billion dollars was raised at the Global Recovery Conference in London, including a new 50bn euro EU facility, and $3bn UK guarantees to World Bank lending.” Furthermore, “over 600 companies from 42 countries pledged to back Ukraine’s reconstruction in the Ukraine Business Compact”. The UK, in particular, actively participates in these efforts, contributing to the multi-donor Partnership Fund for a Resilient Ukraine.
National parliaments also play their role of aiding Ukraine's reconstruction by “supporting the Verkhovna Rada through formal agreements, and through informal groups of parliamentarians”, emphasised Sir Lindsay. “We can press our governments to make sure that the resources are made available to sustain the ideals that Ukraine is fighting for,” he concluded.
“It is our politicians’ responsibility to take an active role in leadership to convince our people that support for Ukraine is important," said the Deputy Speaker of the Saeima of Latvia, Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica, adding that it is needed not only for Ukrainians but as well for the members of the international community. “It is our obligation to keep Russia’s violations high on the international agenda,” she added.
“If all countries here could agree to support Ukraine annually with only 0.5 per cent of their GDP as long as Russian troops are on the territory of Ukraine, I am sure that it could change and it would change the calculus for the Kremlin,” she said. Latvia, for example, has provided Ukraine with 1.1 per cent of its GDP already, she pointed out.
Summing up the role of parliaments in support of Ukraine, Ms Kalniņa-Lukaševica underlined four points: to explain and convince their societies about the importance of continuing support to Ukraine; to task the governments “to allocate a fair amount of money for Ukraine”; to create a legal basis for a mechanism “to confiscate Russian assets to be used as reparations to cover damages” and finally, “to ensure broad support to Ukraine in international organisations”.