‘We can do more,’ participants say at OSCE PA’s webinar on Ukraine

191022 CederfeltMargareta CederfeltCOPENHAGEN, 19 October 2022 – At a webinar held today by the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, participants discussed the war in Ukraine and its consequences. OSCE PA Members heard from several Ukrainian parliamentarians about the situation on the ground and what is needed to help defend Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity from Russian aggression, as well as an analysis from an international law expert on the recent “referenda” that were held in Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson oblasts.

Participants reiterated the illegitimacy of the “referenda” and discussed the dangers of escalation in Ukraine, including the possible use of nuclear weapons. In her opening remarks, OSCE PA President Margareta Cederfelt (Sweden) stressed that silence is not an option when it comes to the war in Ukraine. As parliamentarians, she said, OSCE PA Members have a voice both in the OSCE and in national parliaments, so it is important to continue to forcefully defend OSCE principles in all available forums.

“The energy crises and new influx of refugees is a consequence of Russia's war against Ukraine. We need to remain mobilized to support Ukraine and its people,” Cederfelt said. “Although now is not the time for a diplomatic solution, we must continue to support diplomatic efforts to put an end to this war, with full respect for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders.”

Marco Pedrazzi, Professor of International Law at the University of Milan, spoke in detail about the “referenda,” and in particular on the principle of self-determination that was used to justify holding the votes. Self-determination, he said, is a complex issue but the prevailing view is that it applies to States not regions within States. Only in highly exceptional circumstances would this be applicable to subnational regions, he stressed, further highlighting that the arguments put forward by the Russian Federation were not supported by evidence. The voting process was also illegitimate, he said, because so many inhabitants of the four oblasts had fled due to the war and because those who did cast a vote in the referendums did so under a state of duress.

191022 PoturaievMykyta PoturaievHead of Ukrainian Delegation Mykyta Poturaiev stressed the importance of avoiding Russian narratives on the war and rejected the legitimacy of the “referenda,” noting in particular that many inhabitants of the regions have been displaced. He highlighted Ukraine’s need for additional financial support, including to rebuild critical infrastructure damaged by Russian attacks, and urged additional sanctions to be implemented on Moscow, as well as increased international isolation of the Russian Federation. Other members of the Ukrainian Delegation of the OSCE PA Yevheniia Kravchuk and Pavlo Frolov also took the floor, emphasizing that the conditions are difficult but that Ukraine is resolved to continue defending its sovereignty and territorial integrity.

In the discussion, OSCE parliamentarians noted that the task at hand is to ensure that there is sustained support for Ukraine. Discussion focused on possibilities of holding perpetrators of war crimes at the International Criminal Court or ad hoc international tribunals. Participants also discussed the importance of strengthening the nuclear non-proliferation regime and emphasized the need for renewed diplomatic efforts to find a sustainable solution, as well as increased support for the victims of the war, including through war crimes investigations.

Today’s webinar was held in the framework of the OSCE PA’s Call for Action – Helsinki +50 initiative and was moderated by OSCE PA High-Level Expert Lamberto Zannier.

To watch the full video of today’s event, please click here.

For more information on the OSCE PA’s work on Ukraine, please click here.



Nat Parry

Head of Communications and Press

Office: +45 33 37 80 55
Mobile: +45 60 10 81 77
Email: [email protected]

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