January 29, 2018
I would like to refer to your statement on Ukraine on January 23, 2018 at the winter session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe where speaking about Crimea you once again questioned the territorial integrity of my country.
Your biased position towards Crimea’s belonging to Ukraine causes deep regret and bewilderment especially when all the leading international organizations and Western countries, including the United Kingdom, have clearly said that Crimea is part of Ukraine and Russia committed an act of aggression when illegally annexed the peninsula four years ago.
That action was a part of Russia’s broader strategy towards Ukraine which included invasion in the East of Ukraine, something you forget to mention. Today there are tons of evidence, including photo images, videos and testimonies of Russian soldiers, weapons and military hardware, including tanks, multiple rocket launch systems, finally Russian soldiers who have been captured in Donbas. According to the UN data Russian aggression has led to more than 10 000 people killed and more than 20 000 wounded. This number includes 298 passengers of MH17 flight with 80 children on board, killed as a result of terrorist attack on 17 July 2014, when the Malaysian Airlines plane was shot down by Russian missile system.
The international community has condemned Russia’s occupation of Crimea and Donbas, including by imposing a range of sanctions against the Kremlin which will be in place until the territorial integrity of my country is restored.
As member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe you perfectly know that Russia’s aggression and gross human rights violations in Crimea, namely against Crimean Tatars and other Ukrainians, have become a reason for depriving Russia of a right to vote in the Parliamentary Assembly which Kremlin is now trying to restore by blackmailing this Organization.
I would like to stress that all those who now test the Council of Europe in push to regain Russia’s right to vote without fulfilling its obligations are encouraging its continued aggressive policy and undermine the authority of the Council of Europe as well as the European values and principles.