PACE calls on Russia to ensure rights of Ukrainians and Crimean Tatars in Crimea
PACE, in its resolution approved on Thursday, has called on Russia, which annexed the Crimean peninsula, to ensure the rights of Ukrainians and Crimean Tatars living there.
"The present situation of minorities in Crimea, in particular of Crimean Tartars and Ukrainians, raises the utmost concern. The assembly urges Russia, which is in illegal control of this territory, to ensure that their rights are not violated," reads the document. According to the resolution, the assembly is deeply concerned by the state of media freedom and freedom of expression in Russia, and in particular by the biased coverage of the events in Ukraine, and even manipulations which have largely contributed to the inter-ethnic instability in the country, as well as by suppression of the public debate and any criticism. The document's authors also said that the actions of Russian military forces in Crimea, the recognition of the results of the illegal so-called referendum and the subsequent annexation of Crimea into Russia constitute a violation of international law, including of the United Nations Charter and the OSCE Helsinki Final Act, as well as the Budapest treaty signed by Russia, the United States, the United Kingdom and Ukraine in 1994. "They are also in clear contradiction with the Statute of the Council of Europe," reads the resolution. The assembly also believes that by violating the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, Russia has created a threat to stability and peace in Europe. It also expressed particular concern by the position taken by the members of both chambers of the Russian parliament at different stages of the process of annexation, including the unanimous vote in the Federation Council authorizing the use of military force in Crimea. The resolution also condemns the violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.