Ukraine: Council of Europe’s new sanction policy too mild for Russia

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said that it is disappointed in the new sanctions which the Council of Europe (CoE) Committee of Ministers introduced on February 5. The Ukrainian department believes that the new procedure for responding to member-states’ violations of statutory obligations eradicates the possibility of punishing countries for the most severe violations.

The ministry drew attention to the fact that for more than five years Ukraine has been subjected to Russian armed aggression, which has resulted in the deaths of 14,000 people and systematic human rights violations in the occupied territories.

“Today there is no doubt that Russian armed aggression should be considered a serious violation of the fundamental principles and values of the organization,” the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry remarked.

According to a report by Radio Liberty, on January 29, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) approved an additional procedure for serious violations of statutory obligations by CoE member-states. The procedure stipulates the conditions under which restrictions can be imposed on countries in breach.

According to the new regulations, in the event of such “serious violations”, there is a new procedure whose purpose is to “avoid sanctions”. The country in breach will be given one year to rectify the violations. During this time, dialog with the violator must continue, and if there is even minimal progress towards a solution, the deadline can be reset.

A member state of the CoE can only be punished for “serious violations” with the consent of the Committee of Ministers, the secretary general, and the Parliamentary Assembly. For violations which are not so serious, the former procedure for imposing sanctions will be used.

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry pointed out that the Ukrainian delegation voted against this decision. “We regret that the European capitals still have not listened to our justified arguments on how initiating such steps will harm the future of the pan-European advocacy organization,” the department lamented.

  Ukraine, Council of the European Union, Russia