Ukrainian MPs call on UN, NATO & PACE to recognize Russia as ‘aggressor state’
The Ukrainian parliament has addressed UN, NATO and other international organizations to recognize Russia as “an aggressor state” in the Ukrainian conflict. The majority of MPs voted in favor of the move.
The initiative was supported by 271 out of 289 deputies present at the vote in the Verkhovna Rada on Tuesday.
The deputies issued a statement, addressed to the United Nations, the European Parliament, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, the GUAM Parliamentary Assembly and international parliaments.
"Legal recognition as an aggressor state entails consequences as provided for under the 1974 UN resolution and the UN charter," said Oleg Lyashko, Radical Party leader and a member of the governing coalition.
The UN's 1974 resolution, which defines the act of aggression, stresses that the definition isn't binding under international law and is just guidance that the UN Security Council isn’t obliged to follow.
MPs also recommended Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to submit a parliamentary motion on “declaring a state of war and implementation of martial law on the entire territory of Ukraine until the cessation of Russia’s armed aggression against Ukraine.”
The Ukrainian MPs blamed Moscow for supporting terrorism and jeopardizing international security by blocking the activities of the UN Security Council.
They also urged Ukraine’s Western backers to put more pressure on Russia “through the introduction of new sectoral restrictions and sanctions in order to stop the Russian aggression and force the Russian leadership to fully implement the Minsk agreements; end the illegal occupation of the Crimea; release all the hostages and people illegally detained on the Russian territory.”
In the statement, the MPs addressed the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe to restrict Russian delegation’s powers in the PACE until Moscow stops ignoring “demands of the democratic community.”
They called on foreign partners to provide Ukraine’s with military assistance to strengthening its defense capabilities and humanitarian assistance for the affected civilian population and internally displaced people.
The Verkhovna Rada also stressed that the international community should recognize the People’s Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk as terrorist organizations.
Despite failing to provide any significant proof, Kiev authorities keep labeling the hostilities in Ukraine’s southern Donetsk and Lugansk Regions as a conflict with Russia.
Russian parliamentarians in the State Duma said that the move by their Ukrainian counterparts, who labeled Russia “an aggressor state,” won’t remain unanswered.
“Obviously, this event requires consideration of the plenary meeting and adoption of a relevant document," Vasily Likhachev, member of Duma’s Committee on CIS Affairs, told RBC.
The Russian parliament must also consider practical measures to tackle any manifestations of Russophobia, he stressed, adding that “we’re not alone. Russia has partners, allies and friends.”
Also on Tuesday, OSCE Parliamentary Assembly has called on Russia to close its border with Ukraine due to the intensification of hostilities in the southeast of the country.
"Russian leaders have spoken of their support for a peaceful resolution to the conflict in Ukraine. In keeping with that pledge, I call on Russia to close the border to halt the flow of any weapons or fighters – whether volunteers or not – which may be entering eastern Ukraine," Ilkka Kanerva, OSCE Parliamentary Assembly president, said.
Kiev’s troops and Donbass militia forces are locked in renewed hostilities in southeastern Ukraine after a shaky ceasefire reached by the sides in September utterly collapsed.
Ukrainian forces launched a massive offensive in mid-January, but failed to gain any ground despite employing tanks, artillery and air forces.
On Saturday, a residential area in the port city of Mariupol, which has remained relatively insulated from violence throughout the majority of the conflict, was shelled.
The Kiev forces and the militias have been trading blame for the incident, which took the lives of at least 30 people and saw another 100 injured.
The Ukrainian conflict began last April when Kiev launched a military operation in the southeastern Donetsk and Lugansk Regions, after they refused to recognize the country’s new, coup-imposed authorities.
The death toll in the Ukraine conflict has exceeded 5,000 people. Over 10,000 have been injured, according to UN estimates.