BAKU, 1 July 2014 – By a majority of three-to-one, OSCE parliamentarians approved a resolution that condemns Russia’s recent actions in Ukraine during a plenary meeting today at the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly’s 2014 Annual Session Baku.
Parliamentarians voted by a margin of 92 in favor to 30 against with 27 abstentions on the item, which “condemns the clear, gross and uncorrected violation of the Helsinki principles by the Russian Federation with respect to Ukraine, including the particularly egregious violation of that country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
The resolution now becomes annexed to the Baku Declaration, to be voted on tomorrow, 2 July, by nearly 300 parliamentarians from more than 50 countries. The Declaration will contain policy recommendations for the OSCE and its 57 participating States in the fields of political affairs and security, economics, the environment and human rights.
The resolution, which was initiated by U.S. Senator Benjamin Cardin, the Deputy Head of the U.S. Delegation to the OSCE PA, also “deplores the armed intervention by forces under the control of the Russian Federation in Ukraine, and the human rights violations that they continue to cause.”
It further expresses “unequivocal support for the sovereignty, political independence, unity and territorial integrity of Ukraine”; discredits the March 2014 referendum in Crimea; and notes the “particular vulnerability of Crimean Tatars, Roma, Jews and other minority groups” in the conflict.
The resolution also encourages Ukraine to remain committed to OSCE norms and expresses willingness to assist the country.
Several amendments adopted urge Russia to improve its adherance to commitments in the spheres of political and civil liberties.
Voting was held after a nearly three-hour debate (video is available HERE) on the current situation in Ukraine, during which parliamentarians emphasized the need to make speedy progress through the two-track Russian-Ukrainian dialogue agreed on 30 June by members of both Delegations.
Opening the debate, OSCE PA President Ranko Krivokapic said, “Each day that passes without the peaceful resolution of this conflict undermines very principle of our organization. That is why we have to act urgently.”
Christine Muttonen, the Deputy Head of the Austrian Delegation of the OSCE PA, recalled the outbreak of World War I 100 years ago and considered what the victims of that conflict would have said today.
“They would advise us not to endanger this new Europe and not to take a single step back towards the old Europe in which they died. And I’m sure they would advise us to talk to one another and try to achieve consensus,” she said.
OSCE PA Vice-President Doris Barnett (MP, Germany), whose initiative brought the Russian and Ukrainian Delegations together for the first time in April, suggested that the two-track dialogue set a primary goal of encouraging a genuine truce in Ukraine.
Mykola Katerynchuk, the Deputy Head of Ukraine’s Delegation to the OSCE PA, said Kyiv is “ready at any moment to go back to unilateral ceasefire,” but that Russia must first stop its alleged funneling of weapons to separatists.
Alexey Pushkov, the Deputy Head of Russia’s Delegation, praised the contact he had with Ukrainian MPs during the Annual Session, urging all sides to “stake everything on efforts to move closer together rather than to stress our differences.”
He also offered a rebuke of the resolution condemning Russia’s actions in Ukraine, arguing that Western nations are employing double standards in their assessment of his country.
Earlier in the day, the political leadership of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly affirmed in a Bureau meeting its intention to quickly work on the logistics of the two-track dialogue to set the project in motion.
For the programme of the Annual Session, as well as all related materials, click here.
The Session is being live-streamed on the OSCE PA homepage, www.oscepa.org.
Follow news from the Session on Twitter using the hashtag #BakuAS.