The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe on 22 March 2022 unanimously adopted a Declaration condemning the Russian Federation’s war against Ukraine as a blatant breach of international law.
The debate was preceded by a remote exchange of views with the Ukrainian Minister for the Development of Communities and Territories, Oleksiy Chernyshov, who called for increased pressure to be put on the Russian Federation, including in terms of combating disinformation about the reality of the conflict. The Minister called for direct partnerships to be established with local authorities in Ukraine, while expressing his belief that municipalities’ desire to build a democratic Europe could help to put an end to the war in Ukraine. This call was supported by the Mayor of Kyiv, Vitali Klitschko, and the Mayor of Mykolaiv, Oleksandr Senkevych, who also addressed Congress members and unanimously expressed the urgency of defending Ukraine, but also the democratic values of Europe.
Deploring the loss of human life and the destruction caused by the Russian aggression, which has led to an unprecedent number of refugees and displaced persons in Europe, the Congress calls on the Russian Federation to immediately and unconditionally cease its war in Ukraine and provide humanitarian corridors for the safe evacuation of civilians. It expresses its support to Ukraine and its solidarity with its people who are displaying admirable resolve and courage in defending their country.
The Congress calls for the Russian Federation to meet its obligations under international law and international humanitarian law. It also condemns the illegal annexation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol and the Russian Federation’s recognition of the Ukrainian oblasts of Donetsk and Luhansk as independent entities, while reiterating its unwavering commitment to the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognised borders.
“The Russian Federation’s war against Ukraine is an attack on the principles and values of democracy, human rights and the rule of law which the Council of Europe stands for, promotes and defends”, said Leendert Verbeek (Netherlands, SOC/G/PD), Congress rapporteur. He praised the key role played by local and regional authorities in Ukraine and in the countries taking in refugees in terms of tackling the disastrous humanitarian consequences faced by citizens as a result of the Russian aggression. “With this declaration, we show the aggressor that we are united and that its actions are condemned by the international community. We show Ukrainian citizens and our Ukrainian friends, colleagues and counterparts – the mayors and regional governors – that we will do everything in our power to support them”, he said in conclusion.
- Congress Declaration on the Russian Federation's war against Ukraine
- Speech by Leendert Verbeek - Communication at the opening of the Session
- Speech by Oleksiy Chernyshov
- Photo gallery of the debate
- Oleksiy CHERNYSHOV, Minister for Communities and Territories Development, Ukraine
- Vitali KLITSCHKO, Mayor of Kyiv, Ukraine
- The Russian Federation’s war against Ukraine
- Special page: War of the Russian Federation against Ukraine