Behind curtain of PACE: What conclusions should be made after end of Assembly session

Author : Volodymyr Pylypenko

Source :

On the one hand, West openly supports Ukraine, and recognizes involvement of Russia in the war in Donbas and on the other - at the highest level with great pleasure calls for a diplomatic "tea party" with Kremlin's occupants
22:30, 17 October 2016

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Another regular session of PACE is over. We can summarize its progress and key decisions. Therefore, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe adopted two resolutions on Ukraine and its conflict with Russia - "Remedies for human rights violations in Ukrainian territories outside the control of Ukrainian authorities", prepared by rapporteur, German politician Marieluise Beck, and "Political Consequences of Russian aggression in Ukraine ", on which spoke the deputy speaker of Czech Republic Christina Zelenkova.

Europe urged Moscow to withdraw its troops from the territory of Ukraine and to cease military support for militants in Donbas. Also one of the voiced theses was a demand to stop the annexation of Crimea. The document was supported by 78 of the 102 delegates of the Assembly members present. Although it is quite a small amount, considering that the total number of members of the Assembly is 318.

In addition, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe adopted the editing in a resolution on Ukraine, which called on European countries to maintain sanctions until the restoration of the sovereignty of Ukraine. With another editing PACE condemned the illegal elections to the State Duma of the Russian Federation carried out in the occupied Crimea on 18 September.

Ukrainian side has already called this perhaps the biggest victory of the Ukrainian delegation of all time. And no one can detract our merits, because it should be a titanic work to do in order to effectively lobby national interests. However, we should always objectively assess the situation and should not throw in the usual manner Ukrainian loud slogans. So let's try to look at least a little "behind the screen" of the European bureaucracy.

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The first thing that catches your eye - this is the number of delegates. Even traditional pro-Ukrainian Group of the European People's Party (EPP) has not acted a single front in support of the Ukrainian delegation. For example, here are the voting results on resolution on the political implications of Russia's aggression against Ukraine. It was supported by 78 members, against - 11 (Italy - five representatives, Germany – 2, then Turkey, the Netherlands, Cyprus, Switzerland), abstained from voting - 13.

This trend has continued in the vote on the legal protection in cases of human rights violations in the territories beyond the control of Ukraine. 87 delegates voted - for, 6 - against (Turkey, Germany, the Netherlands, Cyprus, Italy, UK), 11 - abstained.

This causes at least surprise - what is the reason for this is quite biased voting? Obviously, the political line on the Ukrainian issue does not coincide in its unanimity even within European parties.

Against the background of a definitive and comprehensive condemnation of the aggressor actions, Europe called on all parties of the conflict to adhere to the Minsk agreements. At the same time, the president of PACE Spaniard Pedro Agramunt urged to maintain a dialogue with the Russian parliament. Like, without Moscow's we can’t solve the conflict neither in Syria, nor in Ukraine. Some cognitive dissonance arises involuntarily. Doesn’t it look like the policy of double standards? On the one hand, the West openly supports Ukraine, and recognizes the involvement of Russia in the war in Donbas and on the other - at the highest level with great pleasure calls for a diplomatic "tea party" with the Kremlin's occupants.

Also in the PACE regulations there is no such thing as a lifting of the sanctions against Russia. It says only about the lifting of restrictions - in respect of voting rights of the Russian Federation, participation in the meetings. This is not the sanctions, but only limitation of powers. Is it needless to say about friendship with Moscow? Rather - on mutually beneficial arrangements.

How should Ukraine respond in this situation? I would say - do not lose vigilance. After adopting resolutions - we have to see the practical use of them. Seeking the resignation of Agramunt – is also not the most constructive path that we can take.

We must understand that confrontation with Russia – it’s not sprinting. Today we have just another step that to pass with dignity and not to exhaust all forces. We want to be able to reach the finish line and get everything that we have been roughly deprived of. And the best option here for us – is to strengthen our international positions, to seek the support of an increasing number of influential Western politicians.

Related: "PACE wants to roll out red carpet and ask Russia to return to Assembly"

Related: Ukraine shows PACE evidence of Russia’s involvement in Donbas conflict - video

Related: Ukrainian Foreign Ministry admits PACE crises

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