Strong support for Ukraine expressed at extraordinary meeting of the OSCE PA’s Standing Committee

110322 SC meetingMargareta Cederfelt and Roberto Montella in Copenhagen, 11 March 2022COPENHAGEN, 11 March 2022 – The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly held an extraordinary meeting of its Standing Committee today, hearing reports about the Russian Federation’s invasion of Ukraine from Ukrainian Ambassador to the OSCE Yevhenii Tsymbaliuk and former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. The meeting, consisting of the OSCE PA heads of delegations from the 57 OSCE participating States and members of the Bureau, was convened in order to further discussions on how the Parliamentary Assembly can most effectively respond to the crisis.

In her opening remarks, OSCE PA President Margareta Cederfelt (Sweden) expressed relief that the OSCE PA’s Ukrainian members are still safe, but worried that the situation on the ground continues to worsen and stressed that the international community must remain united in condemning the war in the strongest terms. OSCE parliamentarians have the duty to use their political leverage to push for more assistance to Ukraine and support mediation efforts, she said.

“We see daily footage of civilian infrastructure – houses, shops, schools, hospitals – targeted by the Russian military,” she said. “There are more and more civilian victims to this conflict. The humanitarian situation is dire. All of us are deeply moved by what is happening in Ukraine. We want to do something.”

President Cederfelt said that the OSCE PA will “continue to call a spade a spade,” noting that “this war of aggression is a clear and gross violation of the most basic norms of international law, as well as OSCE principles and commitments.” She also deplored “the clear deterioration of media freedom and freedom of assembly in Russia” in relation to this war.

OSCE PA Secretary General Roberto Montella said that what occurred when Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 February was a turning point for the history of Europe and stressed that how the OSCE, its Parliamentary Assembly, as well as everyone in leadership positions, respond to this war will determine the future of the organization. He emphasized that the PA has always tried to build bridges and pursue dialogue, and will continue to do so while also stressing that it is time to be firm. “We will not sugar-coat our language,” he said, and “we will be clear in our condemnations.” The focus now must be to try to save as many lives as possible and put an end to this war.

In his remarks, former President Poroshenko said that at its core, the current situation is about peace, dignity and the future of European security. He noted that the war in Ukraine has led to the fastest growing European refugee crisis since World War II, and pointed to the destruction of a maternity ward and children’s hospital in Mariupol as evidence of the immorality of the invading forces. He expressed gratitude for OSCE participating States that have implemented sanctions against the Russian Federation and have supported Ukraine’s efforts to ensure accountability for war crimes at the International Criminal Court. He called on the OSCE to redouble its efforts to address violations of Helsinki Final Act.

110322 KravchukYevheniia KravchukYevheniia Kravchuk, Member of the Ukrainian Delegation to the OSCE PA and Deputy Chair of the Committee on Humanitarian and Information Policy in the Verkhovna Rada, told the Standing Committee about the invasion’s impact on civilians, saying that it has so far resulted in the deaths of 78 children. Russian forces have attacked schools, kindergartens, hospitals and maternity wards, she said, noting that the number of civilian dead increases every day. Ukraine needs help from national governments and parliaments, she said, and expressed gratitude to all the countries bordering Ukraine that have offered support with refugees.

Delivering a message on behalf of Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, Ukrainian Ambassador to the OSCE Tsymbaliuk stressed the importance of remembering the lessons of the past, calling for an anti-war coalition to stop Russian aggression, and appealed for ambitious steps to be taken to save Ukrainian lives and defend the values of the free world.

In an open debate, OSCE parliamentarians expressed horror over the ongoing aggression and underscored their sympathy with the people of Ukraine. Members said that the Russian actions are unprovoked and unjustified, and that President Vladimir Putin ultimately bears full responsibility. Dialogue is important, it was stressed, but it must be based on common principles, and the OSCE cannot stand by as one participating State attacks another participating State. The call must now be for an immediate ceasefire and for the Russian military to withdraw.

Noting that the OSCE was established to keep peace but regretting that it hasn’t been effective in this case, Head of the Ukrainian OSCE PA Delegation Mykyta Poturaiev urged more decisive action to be taken against Putin and for more Western companies to pull out of the Russian Federation. Artur Gerasymov, a member of the Ukrainian Delegation and Vice-Chair of the OSCE PA’s economic and environmental committee, said that it is important to understand the nature of this military operation, which he emphasized is a full-scale war.

Support was also expressed by OSCE PA members for the Russian people, noting that thousands have been arrested in Russia protesting the war against Ukraine. Head of the Polish Delegation Barbara Bartus and Head of the Moldovan Delegation Vladimir Bolea discussed the efforts of their countries to welcome refugees and provide as much support as possible.

For more on the OSCE PA's response to the Russian invasion of 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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