AS (2014) CR 16



(Second part)


Sixteenth sitting

Thursday 10 April 2014 at 10.00 a.m.

In this report:

1.       Speeches in English are reported in full.

2.       Speeches in other languages are reported using the interpretation and are marked with an asterisk.

3.       Speeches in German and Italian are reproduced in full in a separate document.

4.       Corrections should be handed in at Room 1059A not later than 24 hours after the report has been circulated.

The contents page for this sitting is given at the end of the report.

(Ms Brasseur, President of the Assembly, took the Chair at 10.10 a.m.)

      The PRESIDENT* – The sitting is open.

1. Changes in the membership of committees

      The PRESIDENT* – Our first item of business is to consider further changes proposed to the membership of committees. These are set out in Document “Commissions (2014) 04 Addendum 2”.

      Are the proposed changes in the membership of the Assembly’s committees agreed to?

      They are agreed to.

2. Reconsideration on substantive grounds of the previously ratified credentials of the Russian delegation

      The PRESIDENT* – This morning’s business is the debate on the report entitled “Reconsideration on substantive grounds of the previously ratified credentials of the Russian delegation”, Document 13483, presented by Mr Stefan Schennach on behalf of the Monitoring Committee, with an oral opinion presented by Mr Hans Franken on behalf of the Committee on Rules of Procedure, Immunities and Institutional Affairs, Document 13488.

      I remind the Assembly that speaking time in debates is limited to three minutes.

      In order to finish by 1.00 p.m. we must interrupt the list of speakers at about 12.20 p.m. to allow time for the reply and the vote. Are these arrangements agreed to?

      They are agreed to.

      I call Mr Shennach, rapporteur. You have 13 minutes in total, which you may divide between presentation of the report and reply to the debate.

      Mr SCHENNACH (Austria)* – Thank you, Madam President. Colleagues, 127 members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe have put their names to two motions, in which we propose taking certain steps, under our Rules of Procedure, in the light of the dramatic events in our fellow member State, Ukraine, as a result of the actions of another member State, the Russian Federation. The Monitoring Committee decided in a secret ballot to ask me, its chair, to produce a report in response to the two motions. The committee discussed and weighed up the facts, and I have brought forward my report, which takes into consideration the views of those who put their names to the two motions, the role of the Council of Europe, and the importance of maintaining dialogue. Yesterday, a report on Ukraine was presented by two rapporteurs.

      Worldwide, the Council of Europe is the only institution that is not pursuing any geo-strategic interests in its involvement in Ukraine; that is not the case for the European Union, NATO, the Russian Federation, and the United States of America. We in the Council of Europe have a responsibility to see that our members hold to the values of the community that we constitute. Our role is to ensure that they respect their duties and obligations. The Council of Europe is responsible for ensuring human rights, democracy and the rule of law.

      In the community made up of the members of the Council of Europe, there cannot be any military intervention, any promotion of such intervention, or any annexation of parts of the territory of other member States. It is clear that we need to condemn any such action unambiguously, but there cannot be peace in Europe without the involvement of Russia. There have been calls for sanctions of various degrees of severity, but we have to try to resolve this conflict between two members of our community. Irrespective of what we decide, those two member States are neighbours and will remain so. It is in the interests of neighbourly relations, peace and stability in Ukraine to continue dialogue with the Russian Federation; we cannot afford to break it off.

      In writing my report, I obviously had to take into account the dramatic events in eastern Ukraine during the week of this part-session. As the President of my country said here yesterday, an Assembly can quickly get rid of a delegation and annul its credentials, but getting a delegation back is rather difficult. The most important instrument available to us members of the Parliamentary Assembly is dialogue, and that is why I have suggested a staggered response in any sanctions that we decide on. It is clear that action is called for, given the events that have unfolded this week. That is why I suggest, in the report, that until the end of the year – of course, we cannot take decisions that apply beyond the end of the year – we deprive the Russian delegation of its voting rights, including in the election of judges to the European Court of Human Rights, in the election of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, in committees, and here in plenary.

      I come now to the votes that were held in the Monitoring Committee. In the light of the unlawful referendum, in which members of the Russian delegation of the Parliamentary Assembly were involved, I agree that the delegation should be deprived of the ability to participate in electoral observation missions. Rapporteurs on Ukraine, Russia, Moldova, Georgia and Azerbaijan should form an ad hoc sub-committee, under the Monitoring Committee, that would deal with Russia’s relations with its neighbours – particularly Ukraine, but also Georgia and Moldova. The concerns of a number of member States are clear. Events in Ukraine have given grounds for concern in the countries that I mentioned.

      In January, we will be called on to decide, once again, on voting rights. The majority of the Monitoring Committee believes that if we get no further in our dialogue with the Russian Federation, we might want to consider annulling the ratification of credentials for that year, but I say this to all members: let us not close the door on the Russian Federation. Let us take the first step of depriving the Russian delegation of its voting rights, so that we can discuss Russia and the situation in Ukraine. The most important contribution that we can make is to maintain dialogue and call on our Russian colleagues to account for their actions here. In that spirit, I appeal to members to support the report.

      The PRESIDENT* – Thank you, Mr Schennach. I call Mr Franken to speak on behalf of the Committee on Rules of Procedure, Immunities and Institutional Affairs. You have three minutes.

      Mr FRANKEN (Netherlands) – The report that we are discussing this morning concerns a key responsibility of members of the Assembly, as we are called on once again to play our role of arbitrators and defenders of democratic values.

      The Committee on Rules of Procedure, Immunities, and Institutional Affairs has been mandated to consider whether the proposal in the Monitoring Committee’s report on the reconsideration on substantive grounds of the previously ratified credentials of the Russian delegation complies with the Rules of Procedure, in particular Rule 9, and with the Statute of the Council of Europe. At its meeting on 9 April 2014, the rules committee decided that the motions calling for the reconsideration of the Russian delegation credentials comply with the formal conditions stated by the Rules of Procedure and that the draft resolution contained in the Monitoring Committee’s report meets the requirements of Rule 9 and complies with the Assembly’s Rules of Procedure and the Statute of the Council of Europe.

      When examining previous requests in 2008 and 2009 to reconsider ratified credentials of delegations, the rules committee had been particularly concerned that any procedure for the reconsideration of credentials should be based on a duly substantiated request, as the procedure in question is of major political importance and needs to be conducted seriously due to its implications. The rules committee therefore noted that the Monitoring Committee’s report includes a detailed presentation and analysis of the facts and circumstances that led it to support the proposal to confirm the ratification of the Russian delegation’s credentials while depriving its members of their voting rights.

      The PRESIDENT* – Thank you, Mr Franken. We will now move to the general debate, starting with the speakers on behalf of the political groups. I call Mr Jensen, who will speak on behalf of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe.

      Mr JENSEN (Denmark) – The Council of Europe was founded on the ideas of the rule of law and democracy, but the Russian Federation is violating all the principles and values of this Organisation. Russia crossed a red line by using force against its neighbour and by expanding its own territory by annexing Crimea. Russia broke several treaties, including the Helsinki Accord and Budapest memorandum, which obliged Russia to guarantee the security and territorial integrity of Ukraine. Furthermore, Russia is not fulfilling its commitment to solve conflicts peacefully, as agreed during its accession to the Council of Europe. It is shameful that Russia has put basic European principles aside, which is something that belongs in the dark times of the previous century.

      The suspension of voting rights is not a soft sanction. It is a clear warning to Mr Putin and his regime. I cannot emphasise enough that Russia is on the edge of getting even further sanctions. If Russia does not withdraw from Ukraine and de-escalate the situation, we must consider removing the credentials of the Russian delegation. The Russian leadership and Mr Putin must decide whether they want to be part of a democratic Europe or to continue down the authoritarian way.

      Dear colleagues, I urge you to vote in favour of the suspension of voting rights. If we do not react to the brutal Russian aggression against one of our member countries, this Organisation will lose its credibility as a democratic beacon in Europe. I strongly support the draft resolution, but I also support our amendment, which is endorsed by the Monitoring Committee, that we strengthen the report by saying that this is step one and that if Russia does not understand that it must de-escalate the situation and end the annexation of Crimea, we must be willing to go to step two and remove the Russian delegation’s credentials. Let us continue to send clear signals and to stick to our principles. Today, we decide which path this Organisation will take.

      The PRESIDENT* – Thank you. I call Mr Kox, who will speak on behalf of the Group of the Unified European Left.

      Mr KOX (Netherlands) – Speaking on behalf of all members of the Group of the Unified European Left, with the exception of its Russian members, the annexation of Crimea, part of Ukraine, by the Russian Federation is in clear breach of international law and is a violation of the territorial integrity of one member State by another. The opinion of the Venice Commission leaves us in no doubt: the vast majority of our member States condemn the illegal annexation, and the Committee of Ministers and the President of the Assembly have taken clear decisions on this breach of international law.

      I call on the Russian authorities, in particular the Russian Parliament, which is represented by its delegation to the Assembly, to leave the dead-end street they entered when they illegally annexed Crimea. As long as the Russian Federation refuses, it isolates itself from the rest of the international community, which is a detriment to the Russian Federation, Ukraine and the international community. My group will use all possible opportunities to repeat that message to the authorities, parliamentarians and citizens of the Russian Federation. Through this clear statement, the Assembly does what it should: protect the rule of law and the human rights of all citizens.

      The next question is what else the Assembly should do. I welcome the rapporteur’s proposal to confirm the credentials of the Russian Federation. We need this platform to tell the Russian delegation that it is on the totally wrong track and should change it as soon as possible. I respect the proposal to suspend until January 2015 the voting rights of the delegation, but my group is against it. As long as Russia is a member State of the Council of Europe and the Russian Government, which is first and foremost responsible for what happened, is allowed to participate fully in the Committee of Ministers and all the organs of the Council of Europe, it does not make sense to deprive its parliamentarians from the right to be present and to vote. It is unwise to suspend voting rights because I want to debate here with them and debates should end in a vote. I will respect the result of today’s vote and we should use it as an example for our Russian colleagues of how things should be done.

      I question the proposal in an amendment to deprive the Russians of the right to participate in the work of the Bureau, the Standing Committee and the Presidential Committee and in election observations. It would be a breach of our own rules, because they are rights that are given to the political groups of the Assembly. If we want the Russians to stick to the rules, we should apply our own rules. We will listen carefully to the debate and my group will decide at the end on how to vote on the draft resolution.

      The PRESIDENT* – Thank you. I call Mr Gross, who will speak on behalf of the Socialist Group.

      Mr GROSS (Switzerland) – For social democrats, it is clear that what the Russian leaders have done is irresponsible. It is a slap in the face of the values of the Council of Europe. It is a kick not in the stomach but in the soul of the Council of Europe. The basic values of this Organisation have been violated and there can be no explanation, excuse or justification. Borders should not be changed unilaterally by force. You can try to negotiate for anything, but the Russians should not have done what they have. Making that statement is easy; it is much more difficult to know how to react. The instruments at our disposal are not as strong as the values we defend. That is a structural problem. As eminent colleagues in my group have said, we can only lose. Whatever we do, we have already lost. If we kick out Russia and do brutal things, we lose our raison d’être. This is the only Organisation to which they come to listen, speak, discuss, think and learn. If we do nothing, because nothing can correspond to the wound we received, we lose our credibility. That is why there is no simple answer and no right answer. We have insufficient information to make a judgment about the consequences.

      We social democrats are convinced that we have to give Russia a sign, so we support the report on its voting rights. However, it is not enough. That is why we want to engage with Russian colleagues and examine all the facts. We want to engage them in dialogue and show them that what they did is irresponsible and breaches all the lessons we learned from the past century. It is a step back from dealing with conflict civilly. We should not remove Russia from our Organisation because it is only here that such dialogue can take place. Speaking, communicating and interacting are the only alternatives to violence. If we punish Russia through black pedagoguery, we lose that opportunity. We should be wise. We should stick to the rapporteur’s proposition, and do more than rap Russia on the knuckles. We should have a dialogue. We should go to Ukraine and defend its democratic values. However, we must talk to the Russians because that is the only way they will learn that what they have done is unacceptable.

      The PRESIDENT* – I call Mr Sasi to speak on behalf of the Group of the European People’s Party.

      Mr SASI (Finland) – Humankind must learn from its mistakes. In the 1930s, a State that was humiliated rebuilt its national pride and acted to protect its minorities in neighbouring countries. That led to a catastrophe in which more than 40 million people died. It is like we are living through 1938 and 1939, and approaching 1940. In this situation, one single mistake can lead to serious consequences and even war. Russia must understand the idea of West Europe after World War Two. The Council of Europe was established to prevent war and allow us to sit at the same table. European integration requires free movement of people, labour, goods and capital. We do not want to build any more walls that are sustained by the military. I am happy that yesterday this Assembly broadly stated that Ukraine has a legitimate government. Our advisory committee said there is no immediate threat to minority rights in Ukraine and that the annexation of Crimea breaches international law and our Council’s principles. The Group of the European People’s Party strongly regrets that the Russian parliamentarians in this Assembly authorised Russia in the Duma to occupy Crimea.

      Today, we have to show our disapproval and condemnation of Russia’s actions, but how should we do that? The right way is to take away Russia’s voting rights and its right to participate in the leadership of the Council of Europe until the end of the year. Those are not soft sanctions. We want to discuss things with Russia at the same table. We do not want the conflict to escalate. We want to have a dialogue and find solutions together. It is clear that those discussions will benefit peace.

      The situation in east Ukraine is tense. I appeal to the Russian members and the Duma not to use military force. This Assembly has a duty to ensure human rights are not infringed in Ukraine. If something were to happen in east Ukraine it would present a new situation to this Assembly. We must send a clear signal to our Russian colleagues that they must find a solution to the crisis in Crimea through diplomatic means and respect its rights.

      Ms VĖSAITĖ (Lithuania) – Lithuania, like other Baltic countries, has a vivid historical memory of the annexation of its territories more than half a century ago. Russia’s actions against Ukraine’s sovereignty dangerously undermine peace and stability in the entire region. The occupation of Ukraine is a matter not only for the country itself, but all Europe. We call on the Council of Europe to support Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity, and protect the fundamental principles of international law. The Venice Commission said the referendum in Crimea was illegal and unconstitutional.

      We are for dialogue, but there has been no dialogue so far. Russia continues to increase the tension in the region by carrying out heavy military manoeuvres next to Ukraine’s east border. It has been conducting a smear campaign even here in Strasbourg, which is disgraceful. Many of us received leaflets with so-called facts and questions to the West. I do not have the slightest wish to comment on that absurd information, but one of the accusations is that Ukrainian far-right militant training camps have been set up in European Union territory. Colleagues, in which of your countries is that happening? I have not received information that it is happening in my country. Many of you will say that we should not pay attention to such radical brochures. However, imagine the Russian citizens and the Russian minorities in other countries who watch the Russian media and are brainwashed by such information.

      Yesterday, this Assembly gave our full support to Ukraine. I was most struck by the speeches of the young parliamentarians from the Duma. It was like they are living in a parallel world. They presented aggression supported by paramilitaries as democratic elections, and violations of international laws as respect for the law. Everything has been done in the manner of Cold War propaganda. We should allow those in the Russian delegation a period of reflection so they can think about what real democracy is. The vote in this Assembly will be the stress test for democracy.

      Mr BAKRADZE (Georgia) – For every international organisation, there is a moment of truth, when it has to prove the reason for its existence by acting in defence of its core values. For this Organisation, the moment of truth is today. We must demonstrate that we can act when it comes to defending the core fundamental values for which this Organisation was created.

      I am delighted that there is unanimity in the Chamber that we must act in defence of our values, but the key question is: how far should we go in our action? What should the appropriate response be to Russia’s actions? Let us draw a lesson from history. Five years ago, most of you in this Chamber adopted very good resolutions on Georgia to support its territorial integrity when Russia occupied regions of my country. Let us ask therefore: how has Russia used those five years? Did it implement any provision of the resolutions passed in this very Chamber? Unfortunately the answer is no. Did Russia take a single step to de-escalate the situation in Georgia and to withdraw its illegal troops from occupied territories? The answer is no. Did Russia take a single step to demonstrate respect for this Organisation by implementing the resolution that was adopted here by an overwhelming majority? The answer is no.

      Unfortunately, the past five years teach us that Russians saw the fact that the Assembly was limited to adopting a resolution without sanctions and was not going to reject their voting rights as a sign that they were allowed to act and that in a few months everyone would forget about occupied Georgia. The Russian expectation is that now this is the heat of the moment but in a few months everyone will forget about occupied and annexed Crimea.

      Therefore, this is the moment of truth. This is the moment to act and to demonstrate that dialogue, which is very important, can never serve as a basis for impunity. Unfortunately, each time, the Russian Federation uses dialogue as a basis for impunity. Therefore, it is time to break that bad tradition and to demonstrate to the Russians that dialogue does not mean impunity and there is a price to pay for misbehaviour and for brushing aside fundamental values.

      Therefore, I support the strongest possible sanctions against Russia, including rejection of its credentials. That will be an appropriate response. After all, in this Chamber, we have members of the Russian Duma who voted to support the annexation of Crimea, sending troops to Ukraine, recognising independence for Abkhazia and South Ossetia and the conducting of ethnic cleansing, with 300 000 Georgian IDPs in my country? Do we share the same values as those people? I do not and I hope that most of you do not. It is time to act and I call on you to act.

      Mr ROUQUET (France)* – As the rapporteur has said, being a member of the Council of Europe means that you accept its values and agree to live by its rules. The incorporation of Crimea into Russia following an illegal referendum in a territory occupied by the Russian army is not admissible. Russia has justified the action by saying it is repairing a historical error made under Khrushchev: the inclusion of Crimea in Ukraine. But above and beyond the attack on Ukraine’s sovereignty, the annexation – that is what it is – represents a danger to the territorial integrity of a number of member States in the Council of Europe.

      It is true that errors have been made. Abrogating the law on regional languages went down very badly among the Russian-speaking population of Ukraine, giving rise to anger and incomprehension. The suspicions about the government were reinforced by concerns, which served as a pretext for the occupation of Crimea for so-called humanitarian reasons.

      Russia has also brandished the threat of a fascist, if not neo-Nazi, government in Kiev threatening the Russian-speaking population. The campaign for the referendum in Crimea was large scale and scandalous. We saw swastikas symbolising the government of Mr Yatsenyuk, who I remind you is a member of the Jewish community in Ukraine.

      The decision we have to take is a difficult one. To do nothing would mean that we recognise Russia’s right to limit the sovereignty of its neighbour, trampling underfoot the commitments it entered into when becoming a member of the Council of Europe. However, if we were to end the dialogue in the Assembly with the Russian delegation, we would weaken our role and ability to engage in parliamentary democracy. The Committee of Ministers cannot remain the only body advocating dialogue, or being in dialogue with Russia in the Council of Europe. The desire for dialogue has led the Monitoring Committee to reject the proposal that we suspend all the rights of the Russian delegation, advocating only that we deprive it of its voting rights. That is a wise decision. The Belarusian precedent has shown that without an interlocutor this institution cannot defend its values.

      In turning to my Russian colleagues, may I say that irrespective of the outcome of the vote today it is important to know that the path of dialogue is always open? France has shown under the French presidency of the Assembly and through the actions of our Foreign Affairs Minister Mr Fabius that it will always do what is required to ensure that dialogue is maintained. The quadripartite meetings between the Russians, the Ukrainians, the European Union and the United States of America, to be held on 16 and 17 April in Geneva or Vienna, offer much hope.

      Mr KANDELAKI (Georgia) – With Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the paradigm that Russia is a flawed western country that, despite its mistakes and imperfections, will one day end in the family of civilised nations is dead. Russia is a revisionist power that considers the collapse of the Soviet Union, which I regard as an evil empire, as a catastrophe. Putin never took his words back: he said that it was a catastrophe. I even heard about plans to charge Mr Gorbachev for allowing the dissolution of the Soviet Union. We should keep that in mind.

      Therefore, to believe that this whole story is just about Crimea would be self-defeating. One just has to hear what Mr Putin is saying. This story is not just about Crimea. It is not even just about Ukraine. It is about fundamentals: whether freedom and democracy are given a chance to thrive in a space where Mr Putin regards them as impossible. The core of his system is based on a flawed assumption that fully fledged freedom and democracy in that space is impossible, so if you want to see a free and democratic Russia the signal that is sent by the Assembly today should be strong.

      I and many other colleagues have spoken about the striking parallels between what is happening now and the events of the 1930s. In 1938, western leaders, including Chamberlain and Daladier, hoped that the trouble would not go beyond the Sudetenland. They were wrong. Winston Churchill famously and rightly said in 1938; “You had a choice between war and dishonour. You chose dishonour and you will have war.” Of course there are no Churchills in modern-day Europe but we must try to ensure one thing: there are no Chamberlains and Daladiers among us.

      Misreading Mr Putin’s objectives, which he has clearly described, is a kind of appeasement. Imagine not expelling the Soviet Union from the League of Nations after it invaded Finland in 1939. In 2008, when Russia invaded Georgia and conducted ethnic cleansing, we did not annul the Russian delegation’s credentials in order to retain, as Mr Gross said, channels of communication. What was the result? Did the Russians reverse the occupation? Did they reverse the ethnic cleansing? Did they withdraw any of their false arguments or allow the European Union monitoring mission into the occupied territories? Of course not. Things got worse and that is recorded in the Assembly’s documents.

      Those members of the Assembly who argue for a weaker option – suspension of voting rights – should remember that our colleagues are already selling this all over the Russian media as a victory. Do we really want to embolden the aggressor? Dear colleagues, please keep in mind your responsibility.

      Mr HARUTYUNYAN (Armenia) – The crisis in Ukraine has been in our spotlight during the past few months. The key to resolving any crisis is to act within the framework of international law and seek an early solution to differences through dialogue and co-operation. The current situation in Ukraine is a sensitive matter. We strongly believe that an enduring solution can be realised between the parties concerned only through dialogue, in a peaceful and negotiated manner. Today we are witnessing a worsening situation and the ongoing escalation of the conflict. It is our firm belief that relevant international organisations, including our Assembly, should take immediate steps that contribute to the prevention of further escalation of the conflict and only after that prepare the ground for reconciliation and the restoration of trust.

      The draft resolution mostly reacts to facts. It could even trigger new tensions by forging expectations that can never be fulfilled. A good portion of healthy criticism could play a role in this context, but unilateral politicised statements may well not have much more effect than to alienate one of the parties. We should focus more on what the Assembly could do as an important platform to bridge differences and provide its good services to member States to sort out their differences. I doubt that sanctions could serve this objective. They may well contribute to an escalation of the conflict rather than finding a solution.

      This Assembly is a forum that provides a fair and just setting for everybody to present and defend their point of view, no matter how controversial or divisive. Sanctions against any party may well take this mediating role away from the Assembly. I am quite confident that this Assembly has not exhausted all its potential in this regard. Resorting to measures that might distort dialogue would be premature and could even be counter-productive. Peaceful diplomacy is a responsible process and implies engagement of all parties. Thus, we support the view expressed in this Assembly on numerous occasions that solutions can be achieved through dialogue and engagement based on commitments to the norms and principles of international law.

      Ms KHIDASHELI (Georgia) – Dear colleagues, today I address the Assembly as a citizen of Georgia and I do not think it will surprise anyone if I take you through a bit of the history of the last five years. Throughout these five years you have been telling Georgia: “Do not irritate.” That was the main message we got. Is that an answer? Today, after Crimea, does anybody in the Assembly really think that irritating or not irritating is the key?

      Let me remind you that this “Do not irritate” policy was exactly why were not granted a MAP – a membership action plan – at the 2008 NATO summit in Bucharest. Some world leaders at that time believed that Russia would appreciate consideration of their fears or “legitimate” concerns, as some saw them. And what was the price of that “appreciation”? Russians have intervened in Georgia by land, air and sea. They have bombed several cities around the country, bulldozed entire Georgian households in South Ossetia, ethnically cleansed the whole region and built a military base. They have never stopped. They continue to put up artificial fences and cut more and more villages away from Georgia.

      I know that some of you think – and would say – that it was the President of Georgia who did not leave a chance. Let me remind you, my colleagues, of a proven fact: responding to Russian provocations or fully resisting them has similar consequences. They come, they occupy, they tick boxes on their action plan and they move ahead. Yes, we have responded militarily; they have attacked us with their army. Yes, Ukraine resisted, but the Russian army still marched into the territory of Ukraine.

      This is how Putin works. This is the KGB style. This is the kind of “Thank you for understanding” that the world gets from Russia whenever it senses weakness from the democratic world. Mr Putin is systematically pursuing his agenda. It is crystal clear and extremely simple: he is picking up the pieces of land, little by little, one after another, that he believes belong to Russia and should remain with Russia. He is expanding the empire. He is trying out new backyards and front yards. He is setting up new rules of the game. He is creating a completely new international law – his own international law. He knows how to do it and he does it best. The question is: does the democratic world know how to respond? Does the democratic world have an answer to stop it?

      What is it that might stop the Assembly giving a clear answer to our Russian colleagues today? What is it that we disagree with? Does occupation go against the rules of the civilised world or not? Does the annexation of independent States go against the world order or not? Put aside Georgia, Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea: does suppression of every article of the European Convention on Human Rights – a reason for Russia no longer to be a member of this Assembly – go against the fundamentals of this Assembly? If the answer to these three questions is yes, I believe there should be no big debate. We should be unanimous in our vote.

      It is my dream to wake up one morning and for Russia to be a democracy, but as long as this is not the case, please show strength. Act differently from how we have acted these last five years and support the resolution and Mr Jensen’s amendment.

      Mr O. SHEVCHENKO (Ukraine)* – We are calling on Russia to engage in dialogue, but just look around the Chamber. Is there a single member of the Russian delegation present? How can we engage in dialogue with them? What kind of dialogue can we have with them? They do not want dialogue. They have insulted the entire Assembly by leaving the Chamber in silence.

      The principles of peaceful coexistence developed at the 20th congress of the CPSU in the Soviet Union after the Second World War all sounded good and it seems to me that at that time Russians played an important role in developing those principles. I thought they would apply them in their international relations, but it turns out that they are in complete disagreement with the world order that was built up after the Second World War. They just do what they want. Because they have nuclear weapons, they threaten the entire world, including the rest of Europe. There is no respect for any other country or any other nation. They do not want to respect the rest of the world. They treat all nations of the world with disdain.

      Let us look at just recent events. The Russians have taken Abkhazia and South Ossetia away from Georgia. They have taken Transnistria away from Moldova. They have supported aggression in Nagorno-Karabakh against Azerbaijan and now it is Crimea that has been torn away from Ukraine. They do not want to engage in negotiations. They claim that the annexation of Crimea was a reaction to events in Ukraine, when we got rid of Yanukovych’s dictatorial regime, which they would have preferred to see continue.

      It has been said that a Russian person is a good person who will feed you tea and bread, but he might also put a dagger in your heart.

      The PRESIDENT* – I do not see Mr Slutsky, so I give the floor to Mr Zingeris.

      Mr ZINGERIS (Lithuania) – It is a sad day when we have to consider the invasion of one member State of the Council of Europe by another. A few months ago the Lithuanian Parliament remembered the courage of a famous Danish parliamentarian who presented a report on captive nations – the nations captured after the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact – to the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly. That was in 1960, in the time of Khrushchev. We are once again considering the homework we should do, because we now see continued aggression and continued militarisation of the minds of the Russian people.

      On 28 November the European Union will consider, under the Lithuanian presidency, opening the doors to allow Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia to become succession members, which means free trade with the European Union. Free trade has nothing to do with the military. Ukraine was punished for trying to have a free trade agreement and to become closer to the European Union. At the same time, our Russian friends in Moscow demanded a visa waiver agreement with the European Union, which we were open to discussing in parallel. From the Russian point of view, it is impossible to have closer ties with the European Union, because Russia demanded a free open space. In this case, Russia killed the opportunity to have dialogue with the European Union, which is very sad.

      We are talking about two neighbourhoods, the European Union’s southern and eastern neighbourhoods. We in the new member countries will be very proud to restore the link with our eastern neighbourhood. Countries have a right to choose the direction of their destiny. Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia have chosen the direction they wish to take, in Kiev, Chișinău and Tbilisi. Mr Putin, let the Ukrainian people go to freedom, and after that let the Russian people go.

      Ms FINCKH-KRÄMER (Germany)* – I welcome the fact that the resolution clearly states that political dialogue is the best way to find a compromise. Germany’s Foreign Minister has been travelling a lot recently in order to extend the field of diplomacy, and he has made a contribution. For instance, violence in Kiev has been ended and we have OSCE observers who could be sent to Ukraine. Talks have been agreed in which Russia, the United States, the European Union and Ukraine will take part.

      From a German perspective, the fact that the Assembly is keeping those channels of communication open is a sign of strength, not weakness. The Parliamentary Assembly is a forum for dialogue, and we often have controversial discussions. In our national parliaments we have debates not just in plenary sittings, but in committees and meetings of political groups. That is all part of a learning process. It is important to look at those debates as well as at the plenary sittings that are broadcast. It is important for people to be able to concede that they have learnt something and maybe changed their mind.

      I would like us to convince our Russian colleagues that we have common values. We need to prove that democratic processes afford great opportunities to us all. It is therefore a great pity that our Russian colleagues are not taking part in this debate. Although they are absent, I hope that they can hear our words or read them afterwards. I hope that they will think about what they stand to gain by remaining in the common house of Europe. I hope that the Assembly will give them an opportunity to continue that discussion and co-operation. After all, we do not stand to lose anything by continuing to defend our basic values, and if we do that in the presence of our German colleagues. My plea is for us to suspend voting rights but to continue to recognise the credentials of the members of the Russian delegation.

      Mr WALTER (United Kingdom) – As the author of one of the motions, I feel partly responsible, along with 73 other people, for today’s debate. In my opinion it is absolutely unacceptable for one member State of the Council of Europe to annex the territory of another or to redraw its borders.

      It is also unacceptable that the entire membership of the delegation of the State that annexed the territory supported and encouraged their government in that action. There is no difference between the actions of President Putin and the Russian Government and those of their parliamentarians represented in this Assembly. The leader of the Russian delegation said only yesterday that he valued their participation in the Council of Europe, but he has just given a press conference outside this building in which he described our proceedings this morning as a farce.

      We need a true sanction that hurts. We could take away the delegation’s voting rights, as the rapporteur recommends. I also hear from many members of this Assembly that we should keep a dialogue with our Russian colleagues. I am not opposed to that, but I think that at the same time we must impose strong and effective sanctions against them.

      That is why, when we come to the end of the debate, members will find that there is an amendment, standing in my name, to paragraph 14, stating that we should annul the delegation’s credentials but then invite it to send an observer delegation to each of our part-sessions so that we can continue that dialogue.

      No action is not an option, and being weak is not an option, so please support our sending a strong message to the Russian delegation.

      The PRESIDENT* – Thank you, Mr Walter. I do not see Mr Arshba of the Russian Federation, so the next speaker is Mr Berdzenishvili.

      Mr BERDZENISHVILI (Georgia)* – We are having a very interesting debate. I represent a country in which many people know what being neighbours with Russia means. Over many centuries we have learnt about dealing with this partner.

      I have heard that its delegates must be present here in order to learn something. It is a very interesting idea that such a great country as Russia should be present in the PACE for the purposes of education – to hear from the representatives of many European countries and to learn. I have no doubt about the pedagogical properties of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, but I strongly doubt that the Russian Federation will take the time to view this education as the right course of action and to see us as teachers. The pupils Pushkov, Slutsky, Arshba and so on are not present. It is a very good thing for us to be minded to have a dialogue, but they are not minded to have this dialogue.

      Today we are seeing a new nostalgia for old European and global leaders. We are seeing in the global field just one key player – the Russian Federation – which is an aggressor. Its president and leader has great support in his country, so everything depends on what we do. The Russians are not listening to us: they are not here and they will not listen to any appeals for dialogue. In fact, the question is not on resolving their presence or absence but on what we do to uphold the honour of our Assembly.

      There is no doubt what the next step will be; there will be another so-called legitimate referendum – for example, in South Ossetia – on whether to enter the Russian Federation. People have said that there is nothing terrible in Georgia losing another region, but we need to uphold our honour and speak out against these people, who are right behind our backs but who are not prepared to listen to us. They are giving interviews in other buildings and in other places and are proud of the fact that they are disrupting the strategy of the European Union, the Parliamentary Assembly, NATO and so on. Therefore, I appeal to you not to support the credentials of the Russian delegation and not to be in solidarity with the aggressor.

      Mr DÍAZ TEJERA (Spain)* – President, I understand the frustration, powerlessness and despair of colleagues here who have had terrible experiences such as the invasion and appropriation of territories that were within their borders. I understand their sense of impotence. It is what we all feel as parliamentarians when in general we see actions —financial, military and technological – becoming superimposed and the Parliamentary Assembly facing one failure after another. The question is: what can we do?

      What we can and must do is not contribute to the continuing failure of our policies. We must endeavour to change things in politics so that we become effective again in the stewardship of human rights and the custodianship of people who most need the protection of rights and the State. Powerful people do not need States, laws or a parliament. When one comes here, one becomes so angry at certain people and one wants to take particularly robust positions – but the next day, what is left? One limb of our body is no longer present.

      I criticise and deplore the fact that the Russian members are not physically in the Chamber. When I speak to them, I will look them straight in the eye and tell them what I think, as I do with any human being with whom I disagree. However, I also respect the work of colleagues who have been tirelessly looking for a way out for days now. I do not think that it is a good thing for anyone to say to the whole of the citizenry of Russia that we scorn their parliamentarians and do not want them here. I want them here and I sincerely believe that it is not a good idea to expel them.

      Some of the amendments strip the content from the committee’s proposal and presuppose de facto expulsion. That is one further thing that will affect our policies. I want to change the policies so that the stewardship of human rights covers all the people we represent. In all honesty I do not think that we should do anything that will sever essential communication lines.

      Mr HUNKO (Germany)* – Ladies and gentlemen, the Council of Europe is a unique body that is founded on democracy, human rights and the rule of law. It is an organisation of which Russia, other eastern European countries and European Union members are all members. The Organisation has historical value; because there is no similar body, as the rapporteur said. There is no body anywhere else in the world with the same composition, because we are not bound by geo-strategic interests. We need to take into account when discussing the situation, and when later we are called to vote, whether we should exclude a delegation from our midst.

      Of course, we are discussing the annexation of Crimea and whether it is in conformity with international law. Mr Kox rightly said that the Group of the Unified European Left, with the exception of our Russian colleagues, is of the opinion that the annexation is a violation of international law. I am also of that view, but I confess that I am not an expert in international law. I also take note of alternative analyses of the situation, pars pro toto.

      For example, the well-known international lawyer Reinhard Merkel wrote an article on Tuesday in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung in which he posed the question of whether Russia had annexed Crimea. His answer was no. Was the referendum in Crimea and splitting it off from Ukraine a violation of international law? No. It was a violation of the Ukrainian constitution but not a matter of international law. Did Russia act in conformity with international law? No, given its military presence aside from its base there. Mr Merkel stated that secession conflicts were a matter of domestic and not international law, and that the status quo in international law was something that the International Court of Justice confirmed four years ago in its expert report to the United Nations General Assembly on secession in respect of Kosovo. That is not my view, but I can see that there is a debate on the issue, and we need to take that into account when we are called on to cast our vote.

      Another question that has been touched on is how this violates Ukraine’s constitution. It is quite clear that the annexation of Crimea is of course a violation of Ukraine’s constitution. The deposing of the President on 22 February was also clearly a violation of the constitution. I regret the fact that the Venice Commission was called on to assist in one situation but not the other.

      We should not forget that we are a parliamentary assembly. What governments do is one thing, but we are parliamentarians and it is important that we maintain parliamentary dialogue.

      Ms ČIGĀNE (Latvia) – Today we are discussing three options: to suspend voting rights, to broaden the rights of the Russian Federation here in the Assembly – we have two amendments in that respect – or to reject the credentials. I call on all members to consider rejecting the credentials. There have been many arguments about that, but I want to mention one example. Since the Russian Parliament authorised the use of military force in the whole territory of Ukraine and since the annexation of Crimea, democratic countries – those in the European Union, and United States of America and Canada – have been grappling with ideas about how to contain Russia and how to send it a strong signal to go no further. Those countries have imposed sanctions on a list of individuals. We know very well that one of the members of the Russian delegation is on the European Union sanctions list. However, at present, that person can easily travel to Europe without feeling the consequences of doing so because he has confirmed credentials in our Assembly.

      Should we make individuals personally accountable for what they do? That very member of the delegation is mentioned in Mr Schennach’s report, the substance of which is very good, as having gone to Crimea and talked about the support that Russia will give to Russian speakers in Crimea. Even before the so-called referendum, he had promised Russian passports to so-called Russian speakers in Crimea. This is a very visible example of how confirming the credentials would get round the sanctions imposed and not make certain people individually responsible.

      Should we keep the lines of dialogue open? I ask our honourable colleague, Andy Gross, who devised a very good report on Mr Magnitsky’s case, whether he has engaged in dialogue about this case. Has he seen whether the impunity of his killers has been diminished? Has there been any dialogue in that regard? There is no dialogue. A proposal to reject the Russian delegation’s credentials was tabled in 2009 for its failure to adhere to the Assembly’s commitments. That was five years ago. Nothing has happened. There is no dialogue. What are we hoping for in future?

      Mr GAUDI NAGY (Hungary) – If I were a member of the Congress of the Communist Party, I would think that you are defending a Bolshevik decision because Khrushchev – a Bolshevik leader – donated Crimea to a sub-State of the Soviet Union when no one thought that the Soviet Union would split up. What happened? The right of self-determination was exercised by many nations in Europe. I shall give some examples.

      You have no idea about the right of self-determination at all. You are just making biased decisions based on double standards. So how the hell do you think that just Ukraine has the right to use self-determination, and no other people or nation has that right? Fukuyama, the philosopher, said, after the fall of communism, that history is over, but he made a mistake, and you are making a mistake, too. What happened to the dozens of States that became independent – our Georgian friends, the Baltic countries and Ukraine? The right of self-determination was exercised by the Kosovar Albanian people, whose rights were approved by the International Court as well. Artificial States such as Yugoslavia, the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia fell apart and dozens of borders have been changed. So territorial integrity must not be a priority over the right of self-determination, and that conforms with the ruling of the International Court delivered in the case of Kosovo. You have no idea about international rights; you are just talking about international law. You have not consulted any of the famous legal professors all over the world who could confirm my opinion.

      What is going on in Ukraine? The army is heading towards Donetsk and Kharkiv, where people would like to use their right of self-determination. You say nothing about that. Svoboda – the resistance, chauvinist party – is taking part in the illegal government of Ukraine. You say nothing against that. MPs who are critical of the Ukrainian Parliament are being physically attacked. Many of them are frightened to take part in parliamentary sessions. You say nothing about that. That is why I think that your idea of applying sanctions against Russia is a joke and would decrease the Council of Europe’s dignity.

      What happened in Crimea? There was a referendum in full compliance with democratic procedures. More than 82% of the electorate took part in the vote, and 96% of them spoke out in favour of uniting with Russia. That is the truth. If you carry on this way, you will face the consequences of what happened in Belgrade, Iraq and Afghanistan. You should not follow this way; you should defend the freedom-loving people of Crimea and all the other nations who are forced to live in Ukraine, such as Hungarians in Transcarpathia, which belongs to Hungary.

      The PRESIDENT – I do not see the next speaker on the list, Mr Romanovich from the Russian Federation, so I call Ms Lībiņa-Egnere.

      Ms LĪBIŅA-EGNERE (Latvia)* – Today is the day when we address the Council of Europe’s role and how we should redefine it. We must have the courage to redefine. This is a moment in time when a member of our Organisation – the Russian Federation – is being called to account for a military intervention that has violated Ukraine’s territorial integrity. The rapporteur, Mr Schennach, has already said that this is very much something that touches the Council of Europe’s heart – its pillars: democracy, human rights and the rule of law. Those values are the Council of Europe’s basic principles. This is what we are talking about. That is why I ask you, please, be bold enough to take a small but courageous step. Please ensure that you speak out against this action.

      The Russian delegation should not have voting rights. In addition, it should not be able to sit on the Presidential Committee or the Standing Committee; nor should it be entitled to any seats on election observation mission delegations. This must be done on behalf of the Council of Europe. The offices that I mention should be held by honourable people. That is no longer the case with the Russians today.

      I remind you that the United Nations Secretary General has spoken about this issue as well. We are talking about a big power, and it is all too easy to accept what it might like, but it is very difficult to resist such a big power. That is why, colleagues, I appeal to you. You cannot have a policy of silence. You cannot have a caveat policy. That is not acceptable here in the Council of Europe.

      The PRESIDENT* – I do not see Mr Sergey Kalashnikov in the Chamber, so I call Ms Taktakishvili.

      Ms TAKTAKISHVILI (Georgia)* – We cannot afford to be as naïve here today as we were back in 2008 and 2009, and we simply cannot not annul the credentials of the Russian delegation today. Perhaps I can remind the Assembly of previous discussions in this plenary Chamber. In 2008 and 2009 this Chamber voted against any sanctions vis-à-vis Russia. At the time, the issue was about Georgia – there was a war, ethnic cleansing, forced displacements and millions of people were affected – and a majority in this plenary Chamber accepted that Russia would simply not abide by its commitments and statutory obligations.

      Let me quote the Assembly’s decision, which went as follows: “Despite the fact that Russia has refused to meet the demands formulated by this Assembly, the Assembly nevertheless confirms the ratification of the credentials of the Russian delegation.” A policy of political dialogue and the quest for solutions without sanctions has yielded no effect. On the contrary, one could even say that it has allowed the imperialist ambitions of Mr Putin to gain ground. Therefore, five years on, as if Georgia’s occupation were not enough, Russia has engaged in a new military attack, this time on Ukraine. Russian MPs unanimously authorised a military attack on Ukraine, and unanimously voted in favour of laws that have basically authorised the fragmentation of our European continent. Russia has annexed Crimea and is currently redrawing the borders of Europe. In every one of his statements and actions, Mr Putin has confirmed that he is bent on destroying post-Second World War achievements, and on destroying and demolishing everything for which the Council of Europe was created in the first place.

      We cannot be as naïve today as we were back in 2009. We cannot accept this blackmail and we cannot be told, “Well, we do not accept European values, but you still need us because we are the ones who pay your wages and finance the Council of Europe.” That seems to be the prime argument advanced by our Russian colleagues, and it is blackmail. I therefore urge you not to accept such blackmail and discourse from our Russian friends and colleagues.

      We must annul the credentials of the Russian Federation – unless, of course, we want Mr Putin to redefine the very reason this Organisation exists. As you know, the Council of Europe’s raison d'être is the protection of the democratic aspirations of our European citizens. It is about protecting human rights and the rule of law, yet it appears that all the Russian Federation wishes to do is use military attacks and interventions, which seem to be its tool for expanding its imperialist ambitions. Today, therefore, we shoulder a great burden of responsibility, and we must vote in favour of sanctions. Even suspending voting rights is not enough, bearing in mind that there has been military intervention in one of the member States of the Council of Europe.

      Ms GUZENINA-RICHARDSON (Finland) – Lack of dialogue, misinterpretation and exaggerated accusations are the best soil for conflicts, and we at the Council of Europe are the protectors of the rule of law, human rights and democracy. Finland has on many occasions stated that the annexation of Crimea is in violation of international law, but at the same time we have also been clear that we need dialogue. Exclusion from dialogue leads, in the worst case, to monologue, which we do not want.

      One of the amendments suggests that the Russian delegation and parliamentarians should be deprived of the right to be represented on the Bureau of the Assembly, the Presidential Committee, and the Standing Committee, and also of the right to participate in election observations. I think that would be very short-sighted because if we take away Russia’s right to participate in those bodies, we close those doors to dialogue. We are the only place where such dialogue can truly take place, and those doors should be kept open.

      We all remember how the world was during the Cold War, and that is not something any of us should aim towards. What would be the benefit of excluding Russia from the Council of Europe? Many of you have asked that question today, but I think the benefits are none. On the other hand, I warmly support Mr Gross’s proposal to form a committee and to have all sides working side by side together for a peaceful and just solution to the Ukrainian crisis.

      Mr ZECH (Germany)* – I think we are having one of our most important debates today, because we are talking about the foundation of a democracy. We are all parliamentarians in our member States, and today we are talking about either withdrawing voting rights, or annulling the credentials of a delegation to this Assembly, and we are all aware of the serious nature of the debate. We also say that there has to be some kind of reaction. The rule of law, democracy and human rights must be advocated, and we must ensure that all member States comply with that. That is also true for Russia, which is why it is a shame that the Russian delegation is not present during this debate. However, as we have heard, this is not a question of the weak and the strong; it is a question of deciding between intelligent and unintelligent sanctions, and I think we need to adopt an intelligent approach, rather than tough, strong-arm tactics.

      Given the current situation, I think the Council of Europe can underscore its importance in terms of the democratic machinery put in place in Europe, but we cannot achieve that if we stop the dialogue. We cannot underscore our importance in terms of that debate if we exclude the Russian delegation from the Parliamentary Assembly, because we would be cutting off any possibility of dialogue or exchange with that delegation. That cannot be our objective and it does not correspond to our duty. We would not be doing justice to the task entrusted to us, which is why I think Mr Schennach’s proposal is very good and the right response at the right time because it gives us the possibility of assessing the situation. For example, in January next year we will have further opportunity to consider the situation on the ground, hopefully with our colleagues from Russia and Ukraine, and then we could discuss other steps and might decide to arrive at a different conclusion.

      If we were to break off relations with the Russian delegation at the Parliamentary Assembly that would be the wrong approach, and I think that Mr Schennach’s proposal is excellent because it enables us to voice our criticism but at the same time to extend a hand in terms of dialogue. I hope that next week at the quadripartite talks with Russia we will find a way forward and the first possible solutions. We need to accompany that procedure in a sensible way, rather than excluding our partners.

      Mr PYLYPENKO (Ukraine) – Nowadays, Ukraine faces significant challenges, the biggest of which is resistance to the military aggression of the Russian Federation. That State, which had to guarantee our territorial integrity and political independence under the Budapest memorandum, has not only failed to fulfil its obligations but has consciously infringed them – bringing troops in Crimea and capturing military bases is striking confirmation of that. The so-called “referendum” in Crimea carried out by the occupying regime, and the joining of those territories to the Russian Federation, was a huge violation of the rules of international law. It was nothing but an imitation of democracy.

      One confirmation of the illegitimacy of the “referendum” came from the Venice Commission, which found it null and void. The commission concluded that circumstances in Crimea did not allow the holding of a referendum in line with European democratic standards, and the democratic principles that are crucial in advanced countries were grossly neglected by the organisers of this “showcase”. According to international legal practice, the accession of the territory of one State to another is possible only if there is an international and bilateral treaty. The scenario played out in Crimea, however, was a unilateral action, and the presence of foreign military forces in Crimea is totally unacceptable.

      The main thesis behind the occupation of Crimea by Russian troops was the protection of the Russian-speaking population from oppression, but that does not comply either with the reality of the situation or with the legal justification for the military seizure. For example, only 2.3 % of schoolchildren in Crimea are educated in the Crimean Tatar language, and even fewer – 1.2 % – are educated in Ukrainian. You can work out the rest: more than 96% are educated in the Russian language. That one fact shows the artificial nature of the alleged conflict over language that has been declared to be a cause of Russia’s sending in troops. Any statement about that conflict over language is pure manipulation by politicians and mass media propaganda.

      Ukraine hopes for the support of the international community to help us resolve this conflict. Our State recognises that the situation is dangerous not only for our citizens but for Europe. Years ago, it was Azerbaijan. Then it was Georgia. Today it is Ukraine – tomorrow it might be the rest of Europe. We need a consolidated front. We should take effective joint decisions on the liberation of our State from foreign invaders and on preventing precedents for the future. Some of these decisions must be taken on the international level, by the Council of Europe – today.

      Ms de POURBAIX-LUNDIN (Sweden) – The report is good, but the conclusion does not match it. It is good that this morning the Monitoring Committee voted for stronger sanctions.

      The Council of Europe is based on particular values: human rights, democracy and the rule of law. Has Russia lived up to those values? No. Has Russia followed international law and agreements? No. Does Russia have a good track record on following our resolutions – for example, after the war between Russia and Georgia, did Russia act on the resolutions we passed? No. Has Russia complied with the report and resolution? No.

      Did the Russian members of this Assembly vote in the Duma against the request from Putin for authorisation to use military force in the whole of Ukraine? No, they did not. Did the Russian members of this Assembly vote in the Duma against Putin’s request for a treaty to unify Crimea with Russia? No, they did not. Does Russia take part in dialogue? No – its delegation is not even here in the Assembly today. Has Russia de-escalated the situation? No – I would say it has done the opposite. Its military forces are around the border and it is making trouble in the eastern part of Ukraine.

      We should ask ourselves how far Russia will be able to go before we impose strong sanctions. Will it take half of Ukraine, or the whole of Ukraine? Can there be anything worse for an organisation such as ours than for a member State to take a part of another member State’s territory? I would say no. This is not business as usual. We took away the Irish delegation’s voting rights because it did not contain enough women. How can we compare that with what Russia is doing right now?

      We need strong sanctions, not simply to take away Russia’s voting rights. There will be several options to impose stronger sanctions when we vote later. Dear colleagues, use your voting rights for stronger sanctions and for the credibility of the Council of Europe. I end by recalling the words of Martin Luther King, that the ultimate tragedy is not oppression and cruelty by bad people, but silence over that by good people.

      The PRESIDENT* – Mr Shlegel does not seem to be in the Chamber, so I give the floor to Ms Beck.

      Ms BECK (Germany) – Colleagues, this morning you could read in Izvestia that a group of Duma representatives are preparing a law suit against Mikhail Gorbachev. They are going to sue him for letting different countries have sovereignty – that is, for letting the Soviet Union fall apart. I am very worried by the signal that sends. It could be background music for what we are seeing at the moment – it may be that the idea is to reinstate as much of the Soviet Union as possible.

      I say that with deep concern. Coming from Germany I know what it means when there is a questioning of the sovereignty of other countries and when there are requests to change borders. In Germany we are grateful to Mr Gorbachev and to the Russian people because they let us reunite. Many Germans remember that their families, their men and their soldiers were well treated by Russian families and there is great friendship between us. We are therefore really sad about developments that have come about not because of an issue between the Russian people and our people but because of those people currently sitting in the Kremlin.

      One member of the Assembly, from the Jobbik movement, is wearing a T-shirt that says that Crimea belongs legally to Russia and that Transcarpathia belongs to Hungary. That shows the crucial issue. If we abandon the principle of the integrity of borders and replace it with thinking on ethnic lines, peace in Europe will come to an end. We have preserved that peace for more than 60 years and we must be very thankful for it.

      I would say to our Russian colleagues – they are not in the Chamber – that there is also danger for Russia. After all, if Russia is going to demand that kind of sovereignty, what about Chechnya? We all remember the brutal war fought there to quash that idea. What of the claim of part of Moldova that it wants to belong to Romania? Transnistria has already been taken away from Moldova – not formally, but in practice that is the case. What about other parts of Europe, in the south and the west?

      Our peace is based on the principle of integrity of borders. We need to send a strong signal about that.

      Mr POPESCU (Ukraine)* – We are all in favour of resolving any problems only by peaceful means and on the basis of dialogue. The Russian Federation’s decision on 1 March this year to send troops into Ukraine was taken in absolute violation of many agreements that it itself had signed, such as the 1997 Treaty on Friendship, Co-operation and Partnership between the Russian Federation and Ukraine, and the Budapest memorandum, in which Ukraine decided voluntarily to give up its nuclear weapons and Russia, together with the United States and Great Britain, agreed to guarantee the inviolability of Ukraine’s borders. The agreement on the stationing of the Russian fleet in Crimea States that any movement of those troops must be taken on the basis of agreement with the Ukrainian authorities.

      The principles of all those agreements have been completely violated, as have the Charter of the United Nations and the Helsinki Final Act. There is also, of course, gross violation of the Statute of the Council of Europe. Article 3 of the Statute makes it clear that this kind of act is not acceptable.

      We are in favour of resolving situations on the basis of dialogue but up until now there has been no dialogue. I am convinced that such a dialogue is possible, but it must start with a de-escalation of the situation and a return to the position at the start of the year.

      The resolution adopted in yesterday’s debate shows that the majority of the members of the Assembly agree that the autonomous Republic of Crimea has been de facto annexed into the Russian Federation and that that is illegal. Any territorial change can occur only on the basis of a pan-Ukrainian referendum.

      The Statute of the Council of Europe has been violated, and the Parliamentary Assembly – an organ of the Council of Europe – must react. We are grateful to all those who have shown solidarity with us. We support the Monitoring Committee’s draft resolution, with a few amendments. I thank colleagues for their attention, and for their support for us. Any country could tomorrow find itself in the same situation as Ukraine. We need to take decisions that signal strongly that what has been done is completely unacceptable, and that all conflicts must be resolved by peaceful means. Thank you.

      Ms SCHOU (Norway) – The fact that Russia has annexed Crimea is deplorable. The Norwegian Government has condemned what the Russian Federation has done as a breach of international law, and the Norwegian delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe stands behind the government on this. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe must send a strong message to the Russian Government: taking territory from another State is simply not acceptable; it is behaviour not worthy of a State that has signed up to the convention system of the Council of Europe.

      However, in my opinion, excluding the Russian delegation from the work of this Assembly is not the way we should choose to condemn the actions of the Russian Government. It is my strong belief that our Assembly should be a place for dialogue. By including the Russian delegation in our work, we can make our voices, and our strong condemnation of the annexation of Crimea, heard. Excluding Russia from multilateral fora is not the way forward; using multilateral fora to get through to the Russian Government is.

      Through this debate, and our urgent debate on Ukraine, the Russian delegates will feel isolated, as the Russian representatives at the United Nations did when the United Nations adopted its last resolution on the situation in Ukraine. I am not saying that Russia’s actions in Ukraine should go unnoticed. Sanction regimes have been established. Norway has joined the European Union in the two rounds of targeted sanctions. Travel and financial restrictions are being imposed on individuals in Russia and Crimea who were involved in the referendum and annexation. I encourage all members of this Assembly to challenge their governments to adopt targeted sanctions against Russia, and to make that point today. We cannot simply stand by silently when international law is so blatantly violated. Thank you.

      Ms VÁHALOVÁ (Czech Republic) – The crisis in Ukraine represents a big threat to the security system in Europe developed after the Cold War. In my opinion, events in the Maidan were a call for a more modern and democratic system of government for Ukraine. They were a protest against terrible corruption, inequality and injustice in society. It is obvious that new democratic processes for the country cannot be created overnight. I am pleased that the President of our Parliamentary Assembly, in her last visit to Ukraine, offered to help lay the foundations for democratic reforms in Ukraine. There is a clear need for the international community to step in and provide urgent economic support.

       The referendum in Crimea and the subsequent annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation are very dangerous to peace in Europe. They go against the principles of the UN Charter and the Helsinki Final Act. The Czech Parliament has rejected the violent annexation of the Ukrainian territory of Crimea by the Russian Federation, saying that it breached international law.

      Soon we will remember the 100th anniversary of the tragic World War. The July 1914 crisis is a clear example of what happens when diplomacy fails, so with regard to Ukraine, I advise imposing any sanctions on the Russian delegation in stages, so that we can react to developments. In our decision, we should respect the independence, sovereignty and borders of Ukraine, and international law, and keep the way open for diplomatic dialogue. I therefore welcome and support the Monitoring Committee’s report. Political dialogue should remain the prioritised way of finding compromise, and there should be no return to the pattern of the Cold War. Thank you.

      The PRESIDENT* – Thank you, Ms Váhalová. I do not see Mr Burkov, so I call Mr Sobolev.

      Mr SOBOLEV (Ukraine) – If we go back 80 years in the archives of the League of Nations, we see the same speeches that are being made today. When fascist Germany seized the territory of Czechoslovakia, orators in the League of Nations declared, “We must not suspend Germany’s credentials, because we want to speak to it; we have to appeal to it.” After the annexation of Austria, orators said, “The reality is that Austrian people want to live under Hitler’s regime. All of them are for that. How can we suspend the credentials of fascist Germany? We must speak to it and give our support.” After that, and the dividing of Poland, it was not a league of nations, and we could believe only in one thing: reality. If we listen to Mr Putin’s most recent speeches, we hear the same words: “great nation”, and “we have to protect parts of our nation across the world”. That is not the speech of Hitler, 80 years ago.

      Some people say that there are problems with the use of the Russian language in Ukraine. I have looked at a recent report on the application of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, and read in it that in Ukraine there is State support for the Russian language, as well as other languages, but when I turned to the page on Russia, there was no support for the language of the 7 million – or even more, because of the annexation of Crimea – Ukrainians living in Russia. I have heard Russian colleagues say that the Svoboda Party is against the Russian language and wants to kill those who speak it. My colleague, one of the leaders of Svoboda, is in this Assembly and speaks Russian, so that is another new lie of Putin’s.

      For us, this is a very important time. We do not want to go down in history as being like the delegations that supported Hitler and von Ribbentrop 80 years ago, and say that we need negotiations with the Russians. We need concrete results. On dialogue with Russia, there are thousands of people in Moscow, St Petersburg, Murmansk and other cities who are against war and support Ukraine, so we need to have dialogue with another Russia, and not only Putin’s Russia. We have to have that dialogue with all of civil society in Russia. That will be the answer to the aggressor. Thank you.

      Mr SEYIDOV (Azerbaijan) – This is an important time for the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. We should ask whether there is logic in all the steps that we will take and have already taken. Unfortunately, it seems to me that those steps are overshadowed by double standards and an absence of logic.

      Fourteen years ago, Azerbaijan became a fully fledged member of this Organisation. Since then, we have tried explaining to the Parliamentary Assembly that Armenia occupies 20% of our territory and has carried out ethnic cleansing, such as the massacre in Khojaly. Unfortunately, nothing has happened and nobody reacted. We have only invitations to discuss, to have dialogue and so on. Where is the logic? Today, we should consider not only our next steps, but the Organisation itself. Can we have credibility when territory in Azerbaijan, a member State of the Council of Europe, has been under occupation for 20 years? All our efforts to draw the international community’s attention to crimes, occupation and annexation have brought nothing. It is a vivid example that the issue is not about sanctions but about philosophy and approach. We are going to sanction the Russian Federation today, but it is absolutely illogical to stand with Armenia, which already occupies my territory, in sanctioning another country. If we are to be firm about our values, we should return to the question of the occupation of Azerbaijani territory, which was first raised 20 years ago. Only after that should we take serious steps if we want to survive in Europe and to do our best for this Organisation. Otherwise, all the steps we take will be illogical and irrational.

      Ms LUNDGREN (Sweden) – The role of the Council of Europe involves advising the Committee of Ministers, safeguarding and promoting our core values, approving credentials every January and voting for judges, but it also involves imposing sanctions, such as those currently under discussion. Respecting the rule of law, human rights and democracy involves some red lines, and the death penalty and breaking with basic rules go against that. We are not the United Nations, the European Union or a national government. We parliamentarians do not play the same role here as we do in national parliaments. We are here just to safeguard the core values of this body. Sovereign nations decided to join their values and to create this Organisation, but sovereign nations make decisions on their own.

      In the last part-session, we argued that the Ukrainian Parliament should repeal some laws. It listened and the laws were withdrawn. The Russian Parliament, however, gave the green light to the use of military force on the ground in Ukraine, another of our member states. That led to the annexation of a part of that member State in a clear and a grave violation of international treaties and agreements and of paragraphs 10.7 and 10.8 of the opinion of the Parliamentary Assembly when Russia applied for membership of the Council of Europe, in which it promised to reject “resolutely any forms of threats of force against its neighbours” and “to settle outstanding international border disputes according to the principles of international law, abiding by the existing international treaties”. The decision to annexe was against the clear opinion of the Venice Commission. Parliaments and parliamentarians can make responsible decisions. Ukrainians and Russians are here today, but the Duma did not take the same responsibility. Today, not for the first or second time, but for the third time, we are discussing the Russian delegation’s credentials. We have asked several times for dialogue, but where has that taken us?

      Dear colleagues, we should not fall back into previous behaviour – be it the Cold War or bowing to major powers. The Russian delegates, who I guess are listening somewhere in the building, should hear our clear message that we do not accept their behaviour. Please, colleagues, be strong in the vote today to ensure that our message cannot be missed.

      Mr IWIŃSKI (Poland) – Our Assembly is again dealing with the situation in Ukraine, which is of special significance to Poland. We were the first country to recognise its independence, we have the longest border with Ukraine of any European Union member State and we issue more Schengen visas for Ukrainian citizens than all other European Union countries put together. Poland also shares a border with Russia, our second-biggest economic partner, and we have had successful small migration movements over the past two years between Kaliningrad Oblast and two Polish voivodeships.

      Yesterday, we discussed the threats, of which there are many, to the functioning of democratic institutions in Ukraine, such as the activities of pro-Russian separatists in Luhansk, Kharkiv and Donetsk in the east. It would be better to have a joint debate on the reports of Ms de Pourbaix-Lundin, Ms Reps and Mr Schennach, because the two issues are closely connected. Russia undoubtedly violated Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity when it annexed Crimea. At the same time, it also violated international standards, including the principles of our Organisation. Arguments about historical facts, such as the 1654 Treaty of Pereyaslav that determined the unity of Russian Crimea for three centuries, could be relevant. However, political dialogue remains the best way to reach a compromise, which could happen in the Assembly. Washington and Moscow should not determine everything on a global scale, which is how it appears now in relation to many conflicts. For that reason, I wholeheartedly support Mr Schennach’s proposals. The Russian delegation’s credentials should be confirmed, but its voting rights should be suspended.

      On the Council of Europe’s role, I welcome the Secretary General’s efforts and the projects for assisting Ukraine that he presented yesterday, but, despite being sober as a judge, our Assembly has missed the boat. We were unfortunately unable to play as positive a role as we did years ago during the Chechen crisis when we were alongside the Russian delegation. The ad hoc committee set up by the Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy in December was not able to function and the visit of the Presidential Committee was too late. For those reasons, I support the rapporteur’s suggestion to set up an investigation committee to examine the developments relating to Ukraine since August and to present a report to our Assembly next January.

      Mr ARIEV (Ukraine) – The events in Crimea do not need an additional explanation. The Russian Federation brutally violated all international standards and the Council of Europe’s fundamental principles. In addition, for the first time since the Second World War ended, we have witnessed the revision of borders. Russia’s act of aggression was committed against not only Ukraine but the entire world.

      If you read Adolf Hitler’s speech in the Reichstag on 1 September 1939 after the invasion of Poland and Vladimir Putin’s speech in the Duma on the annexation of Crimea, you will be surprised. The names are different, but the sense is the same. The revival of fascism is not impossible. Russian media outlets use Goebbels’s principle of propaganda, “The bigger the lie, the more it will be believed.” The statements by the Kremlin’s top politicians and foreign ministry officials do not hide Russia’s new plans for aggression, and Putin and the Duma’s MPs have behaved impudently. The entire world should be alarmed. Some of you will say that because I am Ukrainian I represent an interested party, but your countries could become interested parties tomorrow. Azerbaijan, whose territory of Karabakh is occupied, Moldova, Estonia or Finland could be next. Separatist movements in western Europe are creating new sources of tension. We should not support the popular thesis, “History teaches that history teaches us nothing”.

      Peace in Europe has been thrown out of balance by Putin’s invasion. Russia violated the Budapest memorandum, which guaranteed Ukraine’s security and territorial integrity after it disarmed its nuclear weapons in 1994. We must decide what to do. If we are to stop the Russian aggression, we must be united. We should not think about the economic losses that will result from breaking with Russia. By saving money today we will lose much more tomorrow. It is dangerous to follow a passive, drifting policy. Let us act like Winston Churchill. We must be strong enough to defend the world against the new brown pestilence, which is being affectionately grown in the Kremlin. Predators cannot be vegans. The policy of attempting to pacify the aggressors failed in the 1930s. The calls for maintaining dialogue with the Russian delegation seem weak. Dialogue is good if your partner listens, but where are the Russian delegates now? I am surprised at the lack of correlation between the conclusions and recommendations in the draft resolution. Now is not the time to express deep concerns; it is the time to act.

      Mr GIRZYŃSKI (Poland) – The Council of Europe is a very important organisation in Europe. Not every country can be a member of the Council of Europe. Members must respect democracy, human rights, freedom and peace. Does Russia respect democracy, human rights, freedom and peace? In my opinion, it does not.

      Russia is not a normal State; it is a totalitarian State like the Soviet Union. Mr Putin is not a normal president; he is a former colonel of the Soviet Union’s intelligence services, the KGB. Mr Putin is a dictator. His biggest hero is Stalin, who, under the banner of the fight against fascism, attacked the countries of central and eastern Europe. Putin acted aggressively towards Georgia in 2008, and now he is acting aggressively against Ukraine. Which country will be next? Will it be Moldova, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Poland or the rest of Europe? Perhaps it will be your country. We must stop Russian aggression and imperialism in Europe. Putin and his collaborators have no place in the Council of Europe. They should be brought before the International Court of Justice. Russia’s presence in the Council of Europe is bad for freedom, democracy, human rights and peace in Europe. It is good only for Russian imperialism. Europe must sanction Russia strongly.

      Ms GERASHCHENKO (Ukraine) – A lot has been said today about dialogue, but two partners are needed for dialogue. Russia recognises only one point of view – its own. It does not want to hear the facts or the truth. The facts are that Russia is 175th in the world for poverty and 159th for the security of its citizens. It is far down on the list for human rights, but it tops the lists for abandoned children, abortions, suicides and child alcoholism. Russia’s authorities should be solving those terrible problems, not trying to solve problems in other countries. If the Russian authorities and politicians want to help Russian speakers, they should start in their own country. They should ensure people do not suffer due to corruption and monstrous bureaucracy. They should build roads and schools. They should not bother with what is happening in Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova and other countries.

We have said a lot about dialogue, but is it possible to have dialogue with Russians who act in the way they do? Our colleague, a Crimean Tatar, is not here today because he is helping the Tatars who may be deported by Putin after having been deported by Stalin, who signed the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact. How can we Ukrainian politicians sit in the same Chamber with people who voted in favour of a war against our citizens? What can we say to our soldiers in Crimea who have been suffering at the hands of Russian soldiers? They have had to leave their families and their places of work to defend their country. People’s rights are being violated in the occupied parts of Ukraine. How can we look the Russians in the face?

      This Organisation should worry about what will happen after today’s vote. Will we be collaborationists? Will we try to find compromises despite the fact that the world faces a terrible threat? Ukraine wants Russia to be rich and free and respect human rights, because that would help Ukraine too. Let us vote for serious sanctions against this gross violation of international law.

      Mr XUCLÀ (Spain)* – Today we are voting on Mr Schennach’s report, which presupposes the confirmation of the Russian delegation’s credentials, but advocates removing from it some important rights, including the right to vote in this Assembly, from now until January 2015.

      I support Mr Schennach’s proposal to set up a committee to investigate events in Russia and Ukraine since the autumn of last year. However, that is not the end of the matter or of the issue of credentials. We face a more general discussion and debate. We wish to be a pan-European organisation – from Iceland to the furthest eastern point of Russia – but not at any price. We say we have common values but today and in coming months we need to confirm whether that is the case. We need to ask whether we share common values with Russia, or whether we are dealing with an alternative model: low-quality democratic values and poor respect for international law.

      The referendum in Crimea on 16 March took place amid military pressure and violence and not in conditions of freedom and stability. That is a clearly established fact. For the time being, in this Organisation, the price being paid by Russia for annexing Crimea is pretty cheap: the suspension of voting rights until January next year. It is fair enough that the Russians should be allowed to continue to express their views in the Chamber and in this body, so that we have a clear dialogue with the Russian delegation. In that way, we can ensure that they share the common values of Europe. We can see whether they wish to put forward an alternative model that would be tantamount to their saying that they no longer wish to share the Council of Europe’s common values. The debate today is on a specific matter, but the debate on shared values with a country that seems to be embarked on a different course will continue.

      Mr OMTZIGT (Netherlands) – Today we are having one of the most important debates in the history of this Assembly. One member country has taken over Crimea, a part of another member country, and is threatening to take over more, if you look at the build-up of troops. That is unprecedented. Lots of my colleagues are talking about dialogue. I would love to have dialogue here today. I would have loved to see a direct debate between Ukrainian parliamentarians and Russian parliamentarians. That is what this Assembly is for. However, the Russian MPs have chosen not to take part. That might say something about the strength of their arguments. When do you walk away? You do so when you do not have any argument to defend your actions. They have reneged on the commitments to this Assembly and to the other 46 member States.

      We are here to talk. We can talk in the day, at night, during the week and at weekends, but we are not using tanks or a navy. We are not assembling so-called protesters to destabilise another country. That is what is happening and that is what we have to say no to. We have to say to the Russians that that is not the way.

      By taking such action, the Russians will harm themselves. If they think that they can force the situation in Crimea in this way, the Chechens and Dagestans will have the right to say, “We want to get away from Russia.” This Assembly did not support the way Russia solved the Chechen war, but it did support Russia in that Chechnya is part of Russia. If we are going now to change the borders of individual nations, the situation in Europe will get worse and worse.

      That is why it will be very good if the Assembly says a clear no and withdraws the voting rights. To my Russian colleagues I say, please come back, defend your actions and tell us why you are not sticking to the United Nations Charter of Fundamental Rights, the European Convention on Human Rights, the Helsinki Final Declaration and the Budapest Agreement.

      Mr GHILETCHI (Republic of Moldova) – The Republic of Moldova wholeheartedly supports the territorial integrity of Ukraine. As the resolution on Ukraine rightly pointed out, the Verkhovna Rada and the new government in Kiev are legitimate. It is strange that proponents of Russia’s actions to this day do not recognise the newly established government in Kiev. If the government in Kiev is not legitimate, what can be said of the authorities in Crimea, which broke all the norms of a democratic and sovereign nation, or other regions of Ukraine that manifest separatist tendencies? The irony is that Crimea decided in an illegal referendum to join a country that does not allow such referendums. Therefore, if there are separatist tendencies, there must be sanctions. Otherwise, we will never solve frozen conflicts. Instead we will keep creating new ones in Europe.

      The rhetoric that Russia’s actions are justified as they are intended to protect its citizens, among many others, was one of the fundamental ideas spread by the State-affiliated media. Living in a globalised world, where migration is probably at its highest level in our entire history, letting States intervene in foreign territories to “protect its citizens” will prove to be a modern-day Pandora’s box. Numerous diplomatic and much more efficient tools can be used to ensure people’s rights are not violated, the Council of Europe being one of those instruments. If Russia’s true intention were to protect its people and to ensure stability in the region, it should have sought strategic and conciliatory ways of reaching those objectives.

      Mr Pushkov said yesterday in the Monitoring Committee that all have sinned. I cannot contradict that biblical truth, but that does not mean that, if someone sins, that justifies sinning again. The only solution to a sin is to repent. It is not to sin again. Therefore, let Crimea go back to Ukraine.

      I hope that our colleagues from Russia understand our thought process and take into account the Assembly’s recommendation. In a large family, a child whose behaviour is not in line with rules that are in place for everybody has to be rebuked and given another chance.

      I make a call to all members of the Assembly, including their Russian colleagues: the 14th year of the 20th century marked the beginning of the worst war that humanity had seen. Let us not allow the 14th year of the 21st century to mark the inception of something worse than we have ever witnessed before. This Assembly and our national parliaments must do everything to maintain and protect peace on our continent.

      Ms ANTTILA (Finland) – The European Union was established in order to avoid war in Europe. We have managed very well for decades. Today we need to focus more on diplomatic and political dialogue, rather than trying to point out who is guilty of different events. I am not satisfied with this over-condemnatory attitude because it does not help us to find a political compromise. Such an attitude does not make it possible to achieve concrete results by diplomatic means.

      I remind you that we do not want to return to the pattern of the Cold War. How can we avoid doing that? That is the basic question today. We must be wise because our condemnation might end up causing more problems. Bearing in mind what I have just said, I believe the suspension of the credentials of the Russian delegation would make that crucial dialogue impossible. Therefore, I would like us to come to an agreement that advances a peaceful solution.

      The main target of the European Union is to avoid war in Europe. Therefore, I hope that the European Union will do its best through diplomatic dialogue to keep the peace. I can support the removal of the voting rights of the Russian delegation until the end of this year, but we should not remove their right to be present or to speak in the committees or the part-sessions. Thank you for your attention

      Ms VALAVANI (Greece)* – The discussions over these two days, which are now coming to an end, are important. Has there been a violation of international law with the annexation of Crimea? The answer is indubitably yes, because there has been a change in borders. However, it would be hypocritical to react as though this was the first time that something like this had happened in world history. Colleagues are mixing up the post-war situation and throwing in the situation in Cyprus and Libya, the Yalta Agreement and the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact. You cannot compare these things. As a colleague from Azerbaijan said, the Council of Europe must not have double standards.

      As for the referendum in Crimea, the Greek media were not in favour of the annexation of Crimea, but the reports of Greek journalists clearly showed that the referendum did, in fact, express the majority view of the Crimean population. The report says something along those lines when it says, “If not in the letter, then in the spirit.”

      As for the decision we took on Ukraine yesterday, there was a big delay compared with Resolution 2627 of the European Parliament. We do not accept a reality that was accepted by a great majority in the European Parliament. The fact that the Svoboda Party and others are fascist and anti-Semitic can be found in the European Parliament report from a month ago. In fact, the European Parliament calls for aid not to be provided. The IMF will provide assistance only if certain conditions are met, but those conditions are more or less like those imposed on Greece. They will result in a social holocaust in our country and the same thing will happen in Ukraine if it has to tighten its belt to that extent.

      Can collective security be ensured without or despite Russia? There is a risk of returning to a cold war. If we want to talk sincerely with one another, we need people on both sides. We have adopted a resolution that does not recognise what the European Parliament recognised. Will this help us to find a political solution to the crisis in Ukraine? In fact, it would be contrary to the objective of collective security in Europe. If you look at this with common sense, you will agree with me.

      Ms GUŢU (Republic of Moldova)* – After yesterday’s heated debate on Ukraine, we are now discussing the need to impose sanctions on the Russian delegation because the behaviour of this member State of the Council of Europe is unacceptable. That is the conclusion reached by the majority of the members of our Assembly.

      Those in the Russian delegation have defied the very notion of human rights. According to their logic, we should have a distinct category in international law: the rights of Russian citizens abroad. Did you know that it would need just one Russian citizen living abroad to claim that their rights were being violated for Russian forces to intervene? There are many Russian citizens in my country – 400 000 of them, mostly in Transnistria, the secessionist region where Russia continues to keep its army. There have recently been provocations on the border with the Republic of Moldova along the Dniester river involving the Russian military there. Imagine, it is supposed to be a peacekeeping contingent. Can both these operations go hand in hand? Of course not.

      The Russian Ambassador recently announced that Russia would never abandon Transnistria. Indeed, the concern has been expressed in the Chamber today that the Crimea scenario will be repeated in Transnistria and the Republic of Moldova. In point of fact, Russia is endeavouring to dismember the former of the former countries of the Soviet Union and prevent them from embarking on the path of Europe. Russia wants to interfere in the sovereign rights of each country to determine its own foreign policy. That is unacceptable. Mr Putin even wishes to re-establish the Soviet Union, but that is not possible. That is the message we must also convey to the Russian delegation. Regrettably, the Ukrainian scenario will set a precedent for south-east Europe and we will probably have to deal with a new frozen conflict in the region. Ukraine has experienced a revolt that seems to have been diverted by a fraternal Slav country. That is the tragedy.

      I am for dialogue. We need to maintain dialogue with Russia and the Russian authorities, but you need two to tango and they have unfortunately proved that they do not have the ability to maintain a constructive dialogue with the European institutions. I am convinced that the representatives of the Russian authorities have no idea how to dance the Argentine tango. All they need is a Kalashnikov to trample their partners underfoot.

      The PRESIDENT* – I must now interrupt the list of speakers. Members on the speakers list who have been present during the debate but unable to speak may give their speeches, in typescript only, to the Table Office for publication in the official report.

      I call the rapporteur, Mr Schennach, to reply. You have four minutes.

      Mr SCHENNACH (Austria)* – Madam President, honourable members of the Parliamentary Assembly, allow me first to thank you for your great participation in what has been a lively debate. Emotions have been expressed in the Chamber and outside. Indeed, they have marked this debate, so I would appeal to you all to remember the spirit of the resolution. Emotions do not always give us good counsel and are not necessarily a sound basis. Often, emotions close down opportunities and options. The resolution has therefore been constructed to ensure that we do not revert to Cold War rhetoric.

      Mr Putin and the Russian Government are doing a lot right now, but this is a sign not so much of strength but of weakness – political weakness. We need to seize this opportunity and not break up the dialogue. This is an historic moment. We are all addressing this issue and we must all ask ourselves the right question.

      There are some countries that are further removed from the situation. Perhaps it is easier for them to stand up and say we should annul Russia’s credentials. It is easy to say that. Many States represented in this Chamber have common borders with that region, and they will need dialogue in future as well. We cannot ignore that, because this is a joint cultural area, with mixed families and a common language.

      For all those reasons, I ask members of the Parliamentary Assembly – I have appealed to the Russian delegation on this matter – to use the opportunity that this decision presents. I ask you to support the resolution and reject any amendments that would annul the rights enjoyed by the Russian delegation here. Given our position, the most sensible thing we can do is explain to the Russians that we will take away their voting rights, because we want to make it clear that they have crossed a line, while at the same time inviting them to show a sense of responsibility by sitting down with us in the Monitoring Committee. We can then set up a group to conduct an inquiry, with rapporteurs from all the States concerned, which have a common history and a common past – Georgia, Azerbaijan, Moldova, Ukraine and, of course, Russia. The inquiry can look at the way the Russian Federation has been dealing with its neighbours and what has happened since January. Let us not talk about this only in emotional terms. We owe it to the history of the Council of Europe to adopt such a factual approach.

      With regard to the emotions that have been expressed, if the Russian Federation was to break off all relations with the Council of Europe, 140 million people would no longer have access to the European Court of Human Rights, which cannot be right. That is not what I want. That is why I have tried to draw up a resolution and a procedure that I believe is sensible, intelligent and constructive.

      The PRESIDENT* – Thank you, Mr Schennach. I call Mr Cilevičs, vice-chair of the committee. You have two minutes.

      Mr CILEVIČS (Latvia) – The committee had a thorough and rather emotional discussion. I believe that the suggested resolution is rational and balanced. I call upon all members of the Assembly to support it.

      The PRESIDENT* – The debate is closed.

      The Monitoring Committee has presented a draft resolution, to which 16 amendments, two oral amendments and two oral sub-amendments have been proposed. They will be taken in the order in which they appear in the Compendium and the Organisation of Debates.

      I remind you that speeches on amendments are limited to 30 seconds. I also remind delegates that, under Rule 9.5, members of the Russian delegation shall not vote in these proceedings.

      I understand that the chairperson of the committee wishes to propose to the Assembly that Amendment 16 to the draft resolution, which was unanimously approved by the committee, should be declared as agreed by the Assembly under Rule 33.11. Is that so, Mr Cilevičs?

      Mr CILEVIČS (Latvia) – Yes.

      The PRESIDENT* – Does anyone object? That is not the case.

      The following amendment has been adopted:

      Amendment 16, tabled by Mr Chope, Mr Clappison, Mr Binley, Sir Roger Gale, Mr Walter and the Earl of Dundee, which is, in the draft resolution, paragraph 7, after the words “the use of military force in”, to replace the word “Crimea” with the following word: “Ukraine”.

      We come to Amendment 15, tabled by Mr Chope, Mr Clappison, Mr Binley, Sir Roger Gale, Mr Walter and the Earl of Dundee, which is, in the draft resolution, paragraph 3, first sentence, before the words “violation of international law”, to insert the following word: “grave”.

      I call Mr Chope to support Amendment 15.

      Mr CHOPE (United Kingdom) – The amendment in intended to ensure that we do not talk about a violation of international law as though it was a technical matter, because what we are considering is a grave violation. I know that the rapporteur thought that that would strengthen the resolution too much. I think that it is essential to include the word “grave” in the resolution.

      The PRESIDENT* – Does anyone wish to speak against the amendment? I call Mr Gaudi Nagy.

      Mr GAUDI NAGY (Hungary) – Mr Chope, you are absolutely wrong. It is not about a grave violation of international law; it is about no violation. That is absolutely clear. You know nothing about international law. This is confirmed by the Kosovo judgment of the international court and the UN charter, so using the word “grave” makes no sense.

      The PRESIDENT* – What is the opinion of the committee?

      Mr CILEVIČS (Latvia) – The committee is in favour.

      The PRESIDENT* – The vote is open.

      I have received an oral amendment from Mr Schennach, on behalf of the Monitoring Committee, which reads as follows: “At the end of paragraph 6, replace the words ‘over the last 48 hours’ with the following words: ‘since the beginning of the week’.

      In my opinion the oral amendment meets the criteria of Rule 33.7. Is there any opposition to the amendment being debated? That is not the case.

      I call Mr Schennach to support the oral amendment.

      Mr SCHENNACH (Austria)* – I wrote the draft resolution at the start of the week, and since then there have been developments in Donetsk, Kharkiv and Lugansk. It is now Thursday, which is why I suggest we should refer to “since the beginning of the week”, rather than “over the last 48 hours”, which of course means Monday.

      The PRESIDENT* – Does anyone wish to speak against the amendment? That is not the case.

      What is the opinion of the committee?

      Mr CILEVIČS (Latvia) – The committee is in favour.

      The PRESIDENT* – The vote is open.

      We come to Amendment 4, tabled by Mr Ariev, Ms Gerashchenko, Mr Sobolev, Mr Andriy Shevchenko, Mr Pylypenko, Ms Čigāne, Ms Lībiņa-Egnere, Mr Popescu, Sir Roger Gale, Mr Kandelaki and Mr Zingeris, which is, in the draft resolution, paragraph 8, after the word “alleged”, to insert “and not confirmed” and, before the word “accusation”, to insert “groundless”.

      I call Mr Ariev to support Amendment 4.

      Mr ARIEV (Ukraine) – We can obtain a more specific definition in paragraph 8 that would correspond with the resolution we adopted yesterday on Ukraine. We have no problem with the Russian-speaking minority and Ukraine has no extreme right authorities in Kiev. The amendment would help us specify the definitions in the paragraph.

      The PRESIDENT* – Does anyone wish to speak against the amendment? I call Mr Kox.

      Mr KOX (Netherlands) – When the Presidential Committee visited Ukraine, along with the co-rapporteurs, we were informed about violations against Russian speakers in the city of Lviv at the end of February. We were informed by officials that the far-right Svoboda Party is part of the government. I do not want to add those things to the report, but we should not say that the accusations are groundless, so I oppose this factually incorrect amendment.

      The PRESIDENT* – What is the opinion of the committee?

      Mr CILEVIČS (Latvia) – The committee is in favour.

      The PRESIDENT* – The vote is open.

      We come to Amendment 8, tabled by Mr Kandelaki, Mr Hanson, Ms Čigāne, Ms Taktakishvili, Mr Chope, Mr Ghileţchi, Mr Japaridze, Ms Gerashchenko, Ms Lundgren, Ms Bokuchava, Ms Guţu, Mr Mariani, Ms Pourbaix-Lundin, Ms Mateu Pi, Mr Fronc, Mr Robert Biedroń, Mr Andriy Shevchenko, Mr Bakradze, Mr Zingeris, Mr Sobolev, Mr Ariev and Ms Pakosta, which is, in the draft resolution, after paragraph 9, to insert the following paragraph:

      “The Assembly is deeply concerned by the continuous failure of the Russian Federation to implement Resolutions 1633, 1647 and 1683 on the consequences of the war between Georgia and Russia, the occupation of the Georgian provinces of Abkhazia and South Ossetia by Russian troops and the refusal of the Russian Federation to allow European Union monitors and to reverse ethnic cleansing.”I

      I call Mr Kandelaki to support Amendment 8.

      Mr KANDELAKI (Georgia) – The amendment is of a somewhat technical nature. The resolution is obviously about Russian credentials, not Georgia, and in no way does this seek to open up discussions on the Georgian issue, but because what is happening now in Crimea is similar in nature to what happened in Georgia in 2008, I thought that it was important to register what the Assembly has done on the matter, as a footnote in the resolution. I was happy that the committee could reach an understanding on that.

      The PRESIDENT* – Does anyone wish to speak against the amendment? I call Mr Petrenco.

      Mr PETRENCO (Republic of Moldova)* – I do not think that we should be mixing everything together in a single report. Today we are not talking about Russian-Georgian relations. When we take up that issue, it will be appropriate to consider such an amendment. Today the subject is completely different.

      The PRESIDENT* – What is the opinion of the committee?

      Mr CILEVIČS (Latvia) – The committee is in favour.

      The PRESIDENT* – The vote is open.

      We come to Amendment 5, tabled by Mr Kandelaki, Mr Zingeris, Mr Sobolev, Mr Wach, Mr Walter, Mr Ariev, Mr Omtzigt, Mr Popescu and Mr Pylypenko, which is, in the draft resolution, to replace paragraph 13 with the following paragraph:

      “However, the Assembly believes that political dialogue should remain the most privileged way to find compromise, and there should be no return to the pattern of the Cold War. The Assembly regrets that, since the beginning of the crisis and to hitherto, despite numerous appeals from the international community and in particular the Assembly, as well as despite Ukraine’s readiness to begin a dialogue on the peaceful resolution of the situation, the Russian Federation has not responded to these appeals.”I

      I call Mr Kandelaki to support Amendment 5.

      Mr KANDELAKI (Georgia) – The idea of the amendment is that paragraph 13 mandates the weaker option for the Assembly, which is then formulated in paragraph 14. This formulation proposed in the amendment would be more appropriate for what we would consider a more adequate measure from the Assembly.

      The PRESIDENT* – Does anyone wish to speak against the amendment? I call Mr Schennach.

      Mr SCHENNACH (Austria)* – Paragraph 13 is one of the key paragraphs in the draft resolution. It is very balanced; every word has been carefully weighed. Amendments 5, 9 and 10 would disrupt the balance of the resolution. That is why I appeal to you not to vote in favour.

      The PRESIDENT* – What is the opinion of the committee?

      Mr CILEVIČS (Latvia) – The committee is in favour.

      The PRESIDENT* – The vote is open.

      The vote is tied. The amendment cannot be adopted when there is a tie; we need a majority for that.

      Amendment 5 is rejected.

      We come to Amendment 9, tabled by Mr Kandelaki, Mr Hanson, Ms Čigāne, Mr Chope, Mr Ghileţchi, Mr Oleksandr Shevchenko, Ms Bokuchava, Ms Guţu, Ms Taktakishvili, Mr Bardina Pau, Ms Mateu Pi, Mr Bakradze and Ms Pakosta, which is, in the draft resolution, to replace paragraph 13 with the following paragraph:

      “The Assembly is deeply concerned by the continuous failure of the Russian Federation to comply with the Council of Europe’s basic principles and statutory obligations. The Assembly deeply regrets that its resolved position in favour of political dialogue and efforts to persuade the Russian Federation to accede to these norms and standards has not rendered results or prevented Russia from repeating military aggression towards a neighbouring State.”I

      I call Mr Kandelaki to support Amendment 9.

      Mr KANDELAKI (Georgia) – The amendment states facts that are undisputed. The Russian Federation had multiple occasions to seize offers from various international actors to engage in meaningful dialogue, which it did not do. The amendment also calls on the Russian Federation not to commit the same kinds of acts of aggression towards other neighbouring States. I do not think that anybody should have anything against these arguments.

      The PRESIDENT* – Does anyone wish to speak against the amendment? I call Mr Schennach.

      Mr SCHENNACH (Austria)* – I am against the amendment because, once again, it does not help us maintain dialogue. We have struck the right balance and said to the Russian Federation: “You have clearly overstepped the mark and these are the sanctions.” However, at the same time we have said that the Council of Europe is a platform where dialogue should take place. Therefore, the amendment would upset the balance of the text.

      The PRESIDENT* – What is the opinion of the committee?

      Mr CILEVIČS (Latvia) – The committee is in favour.

      The PRESIDENT* – The vote is open.

      Once again the vote is tied, so the amendment is not adopted.

      Amendment 9 is rejected.

      We come to Amendment 10, tabled by Ms Čigāne, Ms Lībiņa-Egnere, Ms Taktakishvili, Ms Bokuchava, Mr Kandelaki and Mr Dombrava, which is, in the draft resolution, paragraph 13, second sentence, to delete the following words: “Suspension of the credentials of the Russian Delegation would make such a dialogue impossible, while”.

      I call Ms Čigāne to support Amendment 10.

      Ms ČIGĀNE (Latvia) – Suspension is indeed a temporary measure. As such, it would not prevent dialogue from happening. Therefore, we propose deleting this sentence. Please support us.

      The PRESIDENT* – Does anyone wish to speak against the amendment? I call Mr Schennach.

      Mr SCHENNACH (Austria)* – This contradicts what we are calling for in the draft resolution. We are saying that we should not cancel or annul the ratifications. We are talking about voting rights and electoral observation missions. This would be the back door to bringing in the very opposite idea.

      The PRESIDENT* – What is the opinion of the committee?

      Mr CILEVIČS (Latvia) – The committee is against.

      The PRESIDENT – The vote is open.

      Amendment 10 is rejected.

      We come to Amendment 3, tabled by Mr Chope, Mr Clappison, Sir Alan Meale, Sir Roger Gale, Mr Walter, Ms Lundgren, Mr Kandelaki, Mr Liddell-Grainger, Mr Neill, Ms Čigāne, Mr Evans, Mr Binley, Mr Donaldson, Mr Kamiński, Mr Girzyński, Mr Czelej, Mr Zbonikowski, Mr Dombrava, Ms Bokuchava, Mr Oleksandr Shevchenko, Ms Gerashchenko, Ms Pourbaix-Lundin, Ms Taktakishvili, Mr Hanson, Mr Fronc, Mr Sobolev, Ms Lībiņa-Egnere, Mr Badea, Mr Andriy Shevchenko, Mr Bakradze, Mr Ariev, Mr Zingeris and Mr Crausby, which is, in the draft resolution, to replace paragraph 14 with the following paragraph:

      “The active support and endorsement by members of the Assembly from the Russian Federation for the illegal annexation of Crimea warrants the strongest condemnation. The Assembly therefore resolves to annul the credentials of the Russian delegation forthwith.”I

      I call on Mr Chope to support Amendment 3.

      Mr CHOPE (United Kingdom) – The amendment is signed by 33 members. It would give our Russian colleagues nine months in which to reflect on their defiance of our principles and values, and to reconsider their stubborn refusal to listen to any criticism. By excluding themselves from today’s debate, they have insulted our rapporteur and everyone in this House of democracy who values dialogue. By supporting the amendment, you will send out the strongest message that the behaviour of the Russian delegation is totally unacceptable.

      The PRESIDENT* – Does anyone wish to speak against the amendment? I call Mr Schennach.

      Mr SCHENNACH (Austria)* – Once again, in the light of many contributions to the debate both today and in committee, and in the spirit of the draft resolution, we are against the annulment of credentials. We are in favour only of depriving the Russian delegation of voting rights until the end of the year. We will in any case reassess the situation then.

      The PRESIDENT* – What is the opinion of the committee?

      Mr CILEVIČS (Latvia) – The committee is against.

      The PRESIDENT – The vote is open.

      Amendment 3 is rejected.

      We come to Amendment 6, tabled by Mr Kandelaki, Mr Zingeris, Mr Sobolev, Mr Wach, Mr Walter, Mr Ariev and Mr Pylypenko, which is, in the draft resolution, to replace paragraph 14 with the following paragraph:

      “In consequence, in order to mark its condemnation and disapproval of the Russian Federation’s actions with regard to Ukraine, the Assembly resolves to annul the ratification of the credentials of the Russian delegation until the end of the 2014 session.”I

      I call Mr Kandelaki to support Amendment 6.

      Mr KANDELAKI (Georgia) – Colleagues, just a little while ago I read more reports of disturbances in eastern regions. It was confirmed by Secretary of State Kerry of the United States that they were organised by the Russian FSB. Assaults on public buildings in Lugansk are expected today. It is really important to understand the responsibility that rests on us to vote for the amendment and make sure that the signal that goes out of this Assembly is adequate and does not simply embolden the Russian authorities.

      The PRESIDENT* – Does anyone wish to speak against the amendment? I call Mr Schennach.

      Mr SCHENNACH (Austria)* – This is no form of encouragement. If it were, the Russian delegates would not have acted on their emotions and left the room. It is a clever and intelligent approach and it is the one that we have adopted. That is why I oppose the amendment.

      The PRESIDENT* – What is the opinion of the committee?

      Mr CILEVIČS (Latvia) – The committee is against.

      The PRESIDENT* – The vote is open.

      Amendment 6 is rejected.

      We come to Amendment 11, tabled by Ms Čigāne, Ms Lībiņa-Egnere, Ms Taktakishvili, Ms Bokuchava, Mr Kandelaki and Mr Dombrava, which is, in the draft resolution, paragraph 14, to replace the word “confirm” with “annul” and to delete the words: “whilst suspending its voting rights”.

      I call Ms Čigāne to support Amendment 11.

      Ms ČIGĀNE (Latvia) – The amendment proposes bringing the report’s conclusions into line with its analysis. As we heard, two delegations had their credentials annulled because of the lack of women in them. What Russia has done to Ukraine is incomparably worse.

      The PRESIDENT* – Does anyone wish to speak against the amendment? I call Mr Schennach.

      Mr SCHENNACH (Austria)* – This amendment, too, appeals to us to annul the ratification of credentials, which would stand in the way of dialogue. I do not wish to see the amendment supported.

      The PRESIDENT* – What is the opinion of the committee?

      Mr CILEVIČS (Latvia) – The committee is against.

      The PRESIDENT* – The vote is open.

      Amendment 11 is rejected.

      We come to Amendment 14, tabled by Mr Walter, Mr Kandelaki, Mr Girzyński, Mr Clappison, Mr Zingeris, Mr Wach, Mr Fischer and Sir Alan Meale, which is, in the draft resolution, paragraph 14, to insert “Nevertheless” at the beginning, to replace “confirm the ratification of” with “annul”, to delete the words “suspending its voting rights” and to insert at the end the following words: “inviting the Russian federation to send an observer delegation to each part session”.

      I call Mr Walter to support Amendment 14.

      Mr WALTER (United Kingdom) – This is the compromise amendment. To meet all the objections of those who feel that we should maintain dialogue, I propose this amendment, which will send a clear message to our Russian colleagues by removing their credentials but inviting them to attend as observers at each of our part-sessions. We can then maintain the dialogue with our Russian colleagues. We can talk to them; we can engage with them; they can speak in the Chamber, but they will not have the rights and privileges of ordinary members of the Assembly. I believe that this is an acceptable compromise, and I seek your support.

      The PRESIDENT* – Does anyone wish to speak against the amendment? I call Mr Schennach.

      Mr SCHENNACH (Austria)* – I think that Mr Walter is experienced and wise enough to know that this is not a compromise. In fact, it would exacerbate tensions. It seeks to annul the credentials and to change the status, so please vote against.

      The PRESIDENT* – What is the opinion of the committee?

      Mr CILEVIČS (Latvia) – The committee is against the amendment.

      The PRESIDENT* – The vote is open.

      Amendment 14 is rejected.

      We come to Amendment 12, tabled by Ms Čigāne, Ms Lībiņa-Egnere, Ms Taktakishvili, Ms Bokuchava, Mr Kandelaki and Mr Dombrava, which is, in the draft resolution, to replace paragraph 14 with the following paragraph:

      “In consequence, in order to mark its condemnation and disapproval of the Russian Federation’s actions with regard to Ukraine, the Assembly resolves to suspend the following rights of the delegation of the Russian Federation: 1.

1. Voting rights;

2. Rights to be represented in the Bureau of the Assembly, the Presidential Committee and the Standing Committee;

3. Rights to participate in the debates of the Assembly’s part-sessions;

4. Rights to be rapporteurs and co-rapporteurs and chair committees;

5. Rights to table amendments to reports considered by the Assembly and in its committees;

6. Rights to participate in election observation missions.”

      I call Ms Čigāne to support Amendment 12.

      Ms ČIGĀNE (Latvia) – This is a compromise because it offers to suspend several rights of the Russian delegation. The amendment has been sub-amended to remove point 3 – rights to participate in debate. This is a good compromise, and we should accept it.

      The PRESIDENT* – Does anyone wish to speak against the amendment? I call Mr Schennach.

      Mr SCHENNACH (Austria)* – This amendment goes far beyond what we suggest in depriving the Russian delegation of its voting rights, but we could perhaps consider that stage after evaluating the situation in January.

      The PRESIDENT* – What is the opinion of the committee?

      Mr CILEVIČS (Latvia) – The committee is against the amendment.

      The PRESIDENT* – The vote is open.

      Amendment 12 is rejected.

      We come to Amendment 7, tabled by Mr Omtzigt, Mr Allavena, Mr Ghileţchi, Ms Čigāne and Ms Lībiņa-Egnere, which is, in the draft resolution, to replace paragraph 14 with the following paragraph:

      “In consequence, in order to mark its condemnation and disapproval of the Russian Federation’s actions with regard to Ukraine, the Assembly resolves to suspend the following rights of the delegation of the Russian Federation: 1.

1. Voting rights,

2. Rights to be represented in the Bureau of the Assembly, the Presidential Committee, the Standing Committee,

3. Rights to participate in election observation missions.”

      I call Mr Omtzigt to support Amendment 7.

      Mr OMTZIGT (Netherlands) – Taking away voting rights is very important, as the rapporteur said, but we have a grave situation here. We propose that the Russian members should not have the right to participate in election observations because, obviously, they organised the referendum without valid grounds. We want to take away the right to be represented in the Bureau, the Presidential Committee and the Standing Committee. This will send them a clear message, but they can still take part in the Assembly. They can still table amendments. By the way, I was very happy to get a clear majority on this in the committee.

      The PRESIDENT* – I have been informed that Mr Sasi wishes to propose an oral sub-amendment as follows: after “suspend the following rights of the delegation of the Russian Federation” insert “until the end of 2014”.

      In my opinion the oral sub-amendment meets the criteria of Rule 33.7, but it cannot be debated if 10 or more members object. That is not the case. I therefore call Mr Sasi to support the oral sub-amendment.

      Mr SASI (Finland) – The idea is to indicate clearly how long these measures will be in force.

      The PRESIDENT* – Does anyone wish to speak against the oral sub-amendment? That is not the case.

      What is the opinion of the committee?

      Mr CILEVIČS (Latvia) – The committee is in favour of the oral sub-amendment.

      The PRESIDENT* – The vote is open.

      The oral sub-amendment is adopted.

      Does anyone wish to speak against the Amendment 7, as amended? I call Guzenina-Richardson.

      Ms GUZENINA-RICHARDSON (Finland) – If we want to leave the doors open to parliamentary dialogue, however difficult that seems at the moment, we should not close the doors on Russia to such important bodies of the Assembly.

      The PRESIDENT* – What is the opinion of the committee?

      Mr CILEVIČS (Latvia) – The committee is in favour of the amendment, as amended.

      The PRESIDENT* – The vote is open.

      We come to Amendment 1, tabled by Mr Jensen, Ms Khidasheli, Ms Guţu, Ms Beck and Mr Pasquier, which is, in the draft resolution, after paragraph 14, to insert the following paragraph:

      “The Assembly reserves the right to annul the credentials of the Russian delegation, if the Russian Federation does not deescalate the situation and withdraw the annexation of Crimea.”I

      I call Mr Jensen to support Amendment 1.

      Mr JENSEN (Denmark) – The inclusion of this political statement was supported by a majority of the Monitoring Committee. We are only suspending the voting rights of the Russian delegation, but Russia has to de-escalate the situation and end the annexation of Crimea; otherwise we are willing to discuss the removal of the Russian delegation’s credentials. So the amendment puts the spotlight on Russia. It has to take action; otherwise we will step up ours.

      The PRESIDENT* – I have been informed that Mr Omtzigt wishes to propose an oral sub-amendment as follows: replace “withdraw” with “reverse”.

      In my opinion the oral sub-amendment meets the criteria of Rule 33.7, but it cannot be debated if 10 or more members object. That is not the case. I therefore call Mr Omtzigt to support the oral sub-amendment.

      Mr OMTZIGT (Netherlands) – The oral sub-amendment will change the amendment only linguistically: you either withdraw from Crimea, or you reverse the annexation. We agreed by a very large majority in the committee to choose the phrase “reverse the annexation”.

      The PRESIDENT* – Does anyone wish to speak against the oral sub-amendment? That is not the case.

      What is the opinion of the committee?

      Mr CILEVIČS (Latvia) – As Mr Omtzigt has already mentioned, the committee is in favour of the oral sub-amendment.

      The PRESIDENT* – The vote is open.

      The oral sub-amendment is adopted.

      Does anyone wish to speak against Amendment 1, as amended? I call Mr Petrenco.

      Mr PETRENCO (Republic of Moldova)* – Colleagues, we made a big mistake in the previous vote when we took away the right to vote and the right to participate in many bodies of the Parliamentary Assembly, but I oppose this amendment, too, because we should not use threatening language and menaces. Let us not use such language in our resolutions.

      The PRESIDENT* – What is the opinion of the committee?

      Mr CILEVIČS (Latvia) – The committee is in favour of the amendment, as amended.

      The PRESIDENT* – The vote is open.

      We come to Amendment 2, tabled by Mr Jensen, Ms Khidasheli, Ms Guţu, Ms Beck and Mr Pasquier, which is, in the draft resolution, to delete paragraph 15.

      And to Amendment 13, tabled by Ms Čigāne, Ms Lībiņa-Egnere, Ms Taktakishvili, Ms Bokuchava, Mr Kandelaki and Mr Dombrava, which is, in the draft resolution, to delete paragraph 15.

      We need to vote on Oral Amendment 2 before coming to Amendments 2 and 13.

      I have received an oral amendment from Mr Schennach, on behalf of the Monitoring Committee, which reads as follows:

      In paragraph 15, replace “Bureau” with “Monitoring Committee”, replace “Committee” with “Sub-Committee” and delete “and to report back to the Assembly in January 2015”.

      In my opinion the oral amendment meets the criteria of Rule 33.7. Is there any opposition to the amendment being debated? That is not the case.

      I call Mr Schennach to support the oral amendment.

      Mr SCHENNACH (Austria)* – This is merely a clarification of the amendment to make it a little more accurate.

      (The speaker continued in English)

      We should consider setting up an investigative sub-committee inside the Monitoring Committee, tasked with examining and following developments related to the conflict since August 2013. As I said in my speech, the sub-committee will be made up of all the rapporteurs from the Monitoring Committee.

      The PRESIDENT – Does anyone wish to speak against the oral amendment?

      I call Mr Sobolev.

      Mr SOBOLEV (Ukraine) – If we do not believe the Monitoring Committee and our co-rapporteurs who wrote our reports on Ukraine and this crisis, we can vote for the oral amendment. I am against the oral amendment, and that must be the position of the Monitoring Committee and our co-rapporteurs, who represent different political groups. I want to support Amendment 2, but I do not support the oral amendment.

      The PRESIDENT* – What is the opinion of the committee?

      Mr CILEVIČS (Latvia) – The committee is in favour.

      The PRESIDENT* – The vote is open.

       Do the authors of Amendments 2 and 13 wish to withdraw their amendments?

      I call Ms Taktakishvili.

      Ms TAKTAKISHVILI (Georgia) – I am one of the co-signatories of Amendment 13, which suggests deleting paragraph 15 entirely from the draft resolution, and I do not withdraw it.

      The PRESIDENT – We come then to Amendment 13, tabled by Ms Čigāne, Ms Lībiņa-Egnere, Ms Taktakishvili, Ms Bokuchava, Mr Kandelaki and Mr Dombrava, which is, in the draft resolution, to delete paragraph 15.

      I call Ms Taktakishvili to support Amendment 13.

      Ms TAKTAKISHVILI (Georgia) – I think we should have confidence in the great job that has been carried out by the rapporteurs of the Monitoring Committee on Ukraine. Creating an alternative investigative sub-committee within the Monitoring Committee would duplicate the work of the ordinary monitors, and erode their existing mandate. I suggest that we completely delete paragraph 15, and I urge the Assembly to support that.

      The PRESIDENT* – Does anyone wish to speak against the amendment?

      I call Mr Schennach.

      Mr SCHENNACH (Austria)* – With the movers of the amendment in the Monitoring Committee we agreed on the amendment that I read out earlier as a compromise. I think it would strengthen our position because the rapporteurs would be working together and dealing with Russia’s relations with other member States.

      The PRESIDENT* – What is the opinion of the committee?

      Mr CILEVIČS (Latvia) – The committee supported the amendment, but at the committee meeting the movers of the amendment withdrew it. It was put to the vote, exactly in case of the oral amendment being rejected. Formally, however, the committee supported it.

      Mr OMTZIGT (Netherlands) – On a point of order. I was at the committee meeting and asked for a vote just in case this happened, but that was refused by the acting chair. My position is similar to that of my colleague, Mr Kox, but the committee did not take an opinion on this amendment, so I guess we should just vote on it.

      The PRESIDENT – The last word goes to the vice-chair of the committee.

      Mr CILEVIČS (Latvia) – The committee did take an opinion on the amendment in case of a situation such as this, and it was positive. The committee supported the amendment.

      The PRESIDENT – I am told that we must proceed to a vote on Amendment 13.

      The vote is open.

      Amendment 13 is rejected.

      We will now proceed to vote on the whole of the draft resolution contained in Document 13483, as amended.

      The vote is open.

3. Next public business

      The PRESIDENT* – The Assembly will hold its next public sitting this afternoon at 3.30 p.m. with the agenda that was approved on Monday morning.

      The sitting is closed.

      (The sitting was closed at 1.20 p.m.)


1. Changes in the membership of committees

2. Reconsideration on substantive grounds of the previously ratified credentials of the Russian delegation

Presentation by Mr Schennach of the report of the Committee on the Honouring of Obligations and Commitments by Member States of the Council of Europe, Document 13483

Presentation by Mr Franken of the opinion of the Committee on Rules and Procedure, Document 13488

Speakers: Mr Jensen, Mr Kox, Mr Gross, Mr Sasi, Ms Vėsaitė, Mr Bakradze, Mr Rouquet, Mr Kandelaki, Mr Harutyunyan, Ms Khidasheli, Mr O. Shevchenko, Mr Zingeris, Ms Finckh-Krämer, Mr Walter, Mr Berdzenishvili, Mr Díaz Tejera, Mr Hunko, Ms Čigāne, Mr Gaudi Nagy, Ms Lībiņa-Egnere, Ms Taktakishvili, Ms Guzenina-Richardson, Mr Zech, Mr Pylypenko, Ms de Pourbaix-Lundin, Ms Beck, Mr Popescu, Ms Schou, Mr Vahalova, Mr Sobolev, Mr Seyidov, Ms Lundgren, Mr Iwiński, Mr Ariev, Mr Girzyński, Ms Gerashchenko, Mr Xucla, Mr Omtzigt, Mr Ghiletchi, Ms Anttila, Ms Valavani, Ms Gutu.

Amendments 16,15, Oral Amendment 1, 4, 8, 7, as amended, 1, as amended, and Oral Amendment 2 adopted

Draft resolution in Document 13483, as amended, adopted

3. Next public business


Representatives or Substitutes who signed the Attendance Register in accordance with Rule 11.2 of the Rules of Procedure. The names of Substitutes who replaced absent Representatives are printed in small letters. The names of those who were absent or apologised for absence are followed by an asterisk


Alexey Ivanovich ALEKSANDROV*

Miloš ALIGRUDIĆ/Vesna Marjanović

Jean-Charles ALLAVENA*

Werner AMON*


Lord Donald ANDERSON

Paride ANDREOLI/Gerardo Giovagnoli

Khadija ARIB/ Tineke Strik

Volodymyr ARIEV

Francisco ASSIS/Ana Catarina Mendonça

Danielle AUROI/Pierre-Yves Le Borgn'


Egemen BAĞIŞ/Suat Önal



Taulant BALLA*

Gérard BAPT*

Gerard BARCIA DUEDRA/Silvia Eloïsa Bonet Perot


José Manuel BARREIRO/Ángel Pintado


Marieluise BECK

Ondřej BENEŠIK/Gabriela Pecková

José María BENEYTO*




Anna Maria BERNINI/Claudio Fazzone





Ľuboš BLAHA/Darina Gabániová

Philippe BLANCHART/Fatiha Saïdi


Jean-Marie BOCKEL




Mladen BOSIĆ/Ismeta Dervoz

António BRAGA*

Anne BRASSEUR/Claude Adam

Alessandro BRATTI*

Márton BRAUN*

Gerold BÜCHEL/Rainer Gopp




Mikael CEDERBRATT/Kent Härstedt


Lorenzo CESA*

Irakli CHIKOVANI/Tinatin Khidasheli

Vannino CHITI*

Tudor-Alexandru CHIUARIU*

Christopher CHOPE


Desislav CHUKOLOV*



Henryk CIOCH/Grzegorz Czelej


Deirdre CLUNE/Olivia Mitchell

Agustín CONDE







Katalin CSÖBÖR*



Armand De DECKER*





Peter van DIJK


Aleksandra DJUROVIĆ





Daphné DUMERY*

Alexander [The Earl of] DUNDEE

Josette DURRIEU*


Lady Diana ECCLES


Franz Leonhard EßL*



Cătălin Daniel FENECHIU*

Vyacheslav FETISOV*


Daniela FILIPIOVÁ/Pavel Lebeda



Gvozden Srećko FLEGO



Jean-Claude FRÉCON


Martin FRONC

Sir Roger GALE






Francesco Maria GIRO*

Pavol GOGA

Jarosław GÓRCZYŃSKI/Tomasz Lenz

Alina Ştefania GORGHIU


Sandro GOZI*

Fred de GRAAF/Tuur Elzinga

Patrick De GROOTE

Andreas GROSS



Attila GRUBER*

Mehmet Kasim GÜLPINAR*

Gergely GULYÁS*

Nazmi GÜR*




Carina HÄGG


Andrzej HALICKI/Beata Bublewicz

Hamid HAMID*




Alfred HEER/Maximilian Reimann




Adam HOFMAN/Zbigniew Girzyński



Anette HÜBINGER/Volkmar Vogel

Johannes HÜBNER*

Andrej HUNKO

Ali HUSEYNLI/Sahiba Gafarova



Vladimir ILIĆ

Florin IORDACHE/Corneliu Mugurel Cozmanciuc







Tedo JAPARIDZE/Giorgi Kandelaki

Michael Aastrup JENSEN

Frank J. JENSSEN/Kristin Ørmen Johnsen

Jadranka JOKSIMOVIĆ/Katarina Rakić


Čedomir JOVANOVIĆ/Svetislava Bulajić


Antti KAIKKONEN/Sirkka-Liisa Anttila


Mariusz KAMIŃSKI/Łukasz Zbonikowski



Ulrika KARLSSON/Kerstin Lundgren



Bogdan KLICH/Marek Borowski

Serhiy KLYUEV/Volodymyr Pylypenko

Haluk KOÇ

Igor KOLMAN/Ingrid Antičević Marinović

Kateřina KONEČNÁ/Pavel Holík


Attila KORODI*


Tiny KOX

Astrid KRAG*

Borjana KRIŠTO*



Jean-Yves LE DÉAUT

Igor LEBEDEV/Sergey Kalashnikov

Christophe LÉONARD*

Valentina LESKAJ*



Lone LOKLINDT/Nikolaj Villumsen

François LONCLE/Jean-Pierre Michel



Trine Pertou MACH


Philippe MAHOUX*


Epameinondas MARIAS*


Meritxell MATEU PI

Pirkko MATTILA/Jouko Skinnari


Liliane MAURY PASQUIER/Luc Recordon

Michael McNAMARA

Sir Alan MEALE




Jean-Claude MIGNON

Djordje MILIĆEVIĆ/Stefana Miladinović

Philipp MIßFELDER*





Melita MULIĆ


Philippe NACHBAR/Yves Pozzo Di Borgo


Marian NEACŞU*

Baroness Emma NICHOLSON*



Aleksandar NIKOLOSKI*

Mirosława NYKIEL/Iwona Guzowska

Judith OEHRI*



Lesia OROBETS/Andriy Shevchenko

Sandra OSBORNE/Geraint Davies


José Ignacio PALACIOS


Dimitrios PAPADIMOULIS/Olga-Nantia Valavani

Eva PARERA/Jordi Xuclà

Ganira PASHAYEVA/Aydin Abbasov

Foteini PIPILI

Stanislav POLČÁK



Cezar Florin PREDA

John PRESCOTT/Joe Benton


Gabino PUCHE


Mailis REPS



François ROCHEBLOINE/Rudy Salles

Maria de Belém ROSEIRA*


Pavlo RYABIKIN/Iryna Gerashchenko

Rovshan RZAYEV

Vincenzo SANTANGELO/Maria Edera Spadoni

Kimmo SASI



Ingjerd SCHOU


Urs SCHWALLER/Elisabeth Schneider-Schneiter









Arturas SKARDŽIUS/Algis Kašėta






Ionuţ-Marian STROE


Björn von SYDOW/Jonas Gunnarsson


Vilmos SZABÓ


Vyacheslav TIMCHENKO*

Romana TOMC

Lord John E. TOMLINSON/David Crausby



Ahmet Kutalmiş TÜRKEŞ


Konstantinos TZAVARAS/Spyridon Taliadouros



Snorre Serigstad VALEN*

Petrit VASILI*

Volodymyr VECHERKO*

Mark VERHEIJEN/Pieter Omtzigt


Anne-Mari VIROLAINEN/Jaana Pelkonen

Vladimir VORONIN/Grigore Petrenco

Klaas de VRIES



Piotr WACH


Dame Angela WATKINSON*

Karl-Georg WELLMANN*

Katrin WERNER*

Morten WOLD/Ingebjørg Godskesen

Gisela WURM

Tobias ZECH


Barbara ŽGAJNER TAVŠ/Polonca Komar

Emanuelis ZINGERIS

Guennady ZIUGANOV*

Naira ZOHRABYAN/Naira Karapetyan

Levon ZOURABIAN/Mher Shahgeldyan

Vacant Seat, Cyprus*


Representatives and Substitutes not authorised to vote



Corneliu CHISU



Partners for democracy



Representatives of the Turkish Cypriot Community (In accordance to Resolution 1376 (2004) of the Parliamentary Assembly)