The spring session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe is underway in Strasbourg (France).

Today, the PACE held a “Ukrainian Day”, during which parliamentarians considered an important resolution on support for the reconstruction of Ukraine. In addition to the Ukrainian parliamentary delegation, the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Ruslan Stefanchuk took part in the meeting and delivered a powerful speech to the parliamentarians.

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe supported the above Resolution by 134 votes.

In the Resolution, the Assembly calls, in particular, for the establishment of an international compensation mechanism under the auspices of the Council of Europe to comprehensively compensate for the damage caused to individuals and legal entities, including the Ukrainian state, as a result of the russian aggression; active cooperation of states in the speedy transfer of existing russian assets to the established international compensation mechanism, in particular, to use them for the reconstruction of Ukraine; creation of an international trust fund to which all russian state assets will be transferred for safekeeping; creation of an impartial and effective international commission to consider claims filed by Ukraine and affected entities, as well as individuals and legal entities, claiming compensation for damages caused by the aggression of the russian federation.

In addition, according to the MP Yevheniia Kravchuk, important amendments were adopted today, including: a call to Council of Europe member states and non-member states to join the Register of Damages; a proposal to member states to include in the scope of the future international compensation mechanism the consequences caused by the russian federation before the full-scale invasion, starting in 2014.

The Assembly also recognises that russian politicians, propagandists, oligarchs and other collaborators in the war have amassed substantial wealth through their close ties to the putin regime. To ensure their personal accountability, their assets should be frozen, confiscated and used to rebuild Ukraine. Member States are encouraged to develop legislation and legal mechanisms for the confiscation of these assets.

The Assembly notes that a number of states have frozen about $300 billion of russian state assets, so these states should cooperate and transfer them to an international compensation mechanism.

“It is important that such steps are absolutely legitimate. Under international law, states have the right to take countermeasures against a state that has seriously violated international law. It is time for the Council of Europe to move from sanctions to countermeasures against the russian aggressor.

I thank my fellow parliamentarians for this historic resolution! I was honoured to speak in its support,” said Yevheniia Kravchuk.

In addition to the important voting, the MPs – members of the delegation – also took part in meetings of various committees. The Committee on Culture, Science, Education and Mass Media heard a report from Pavlo Sushko, the MP, on the topic “Quality Education for Children with Special Educational Needs: Challenges of the Pandemic, War and Digitalisation”.

He spoke in detail about the challenges faced by countries during the COVID-19 pandemic and Ukraine during the war, when children with special educational needs went to distance learning and were left without education for some time. In addition, the need to create special schools for children with special needs and to revise curricula and assessment to focus on the abilities and interests of children with special educational needs was raised.

The MP Yevheniia Kravchuk took part in a meeting of the PACE Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination, which was attended by the new Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Michael O'Flaherty. He said that he would be visiting Ukraine in his new capacity next week.

According to Yevheniia Kravchuk, the Commissioner O'Flaherty once again assured the audience that the consequences of russia's aggression against Ukraine will be a priority in his work, including the return of our children deported by russia, and stressed that, unfortunately, the issue of abduction of Ukrainian children has almost disappeared from the agenda. Therefore, he is determined to correct this trend.

During the meeting of the Committee, the Chairman of the PACE Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons, the MP Oleksii Honcharenko called for attention to be paid to Ukrainian refugees and the terrible problems they face.

Also today, the Ukrainian delegation opened an exhibition of paintings by Ukrainian artist Mariia Pryimachenko “Maria’s Dreams: A Journey Through Ukrainian Identity”. The exhibition features 20 paintings by the artist, which were provided by her direct descendants and the Pryimachenko Family Foundation. The opening ceremony was attended by the Speaker of the Ukrainian Parliament Ruslan Stefanchuk, PACE President Theodoros Rousopoulos, the Secretary General of the Council of Europe Marija Pejčinović Burić, the Head of the Parliamentary Delegation Maria Mezentseva, members of the delegation, and MEPs.

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