This week Russia made a successful comeback to the Council of Europe with full powers. Earlier, the annexation of Crimea and the war in the Donbas deprived them of the right to vote. Now, many Ukrainians blame Zelensky for “messing up” international politics. The head of the state is nodding at the predecessors. Meanwhile, Medvedchuk’s “opposition platform” is gaining rating in the country. Is there any other positive except for the iridescent Equality March? Read in the traditional digest from Opinion.
The Russian delegation returned to work in the Assembly of the Council of Europe with full powers. For more than five years the Russian Federation was deprived of the right to vote due to the annexation of Crimea and the war in the Donbas.
Thus, representatives of Austria, France, Spain, Portugal, Norway, Slovakia, Turkey, Iceland, Cyprus and Azerbaijan supported the return of Russia to PACE in full membership.
Almost completely this decision was supported by Germany, Italy, the Netherlands (as if they forgot about the recent results of the investigation on the Russian aircraft MH17 shot down by the Russians), the Czech Republic, Armenia and Moldova.
Against Russia’s return voted Ukraine, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Georgia. Mostly against were Sweden, the United Kingdom, Poland.
While the Russian Federation is in this organization, Ukraine will take part in the work of PACE.
Offenders are not punished. The killed are ignored, wounded and disabled are neglected, victims are forgotten. One doesn’t care about other people’s woe. For more than five years we kept the aggressor, the criminals away from PACE. They always tried to return in various ways: pressing, blackmailing. Ukrainian delegation withstood – the Council of Europe failed,” the head of the Ukrainian delegation Volodymyr Ariev commented.
At the beginning of this year, the situation fundamentally changed due to the fact that in some important European capitals the decision to return the Russians by any means had been taken. Everything started gathering speed. And we got this result. That’s why not Russian delegation is to greet on return but European. I’m convinced that our opponents will do their best to ensure that the appeal meets positive result,” Dmytro Kuleba, Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the Council of Europe added in a comment to Hromadske.
“The forcing of actions this summer is the coincidence of factors. Firstly, the desire of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe Thorbjørn Jagland to enter the history of a “peacemaker”, returning Russia and Europe a common ground. Secondly, new “real politics” (read – “cynical politics”) of Germany and France. But it depends on Ukraine how strong it will stand, how loudly it will speak, and how capable it is to build a coalition,” the journalist-political scientist Volodymyr Yermolenko summed up.
However, the coalition is not yet built. President Volodymyr Zelensky criticized the Minister of Foreign Affairs Pavlo Klimkin who, having not consulted with the head of state, responded to Russia’s note on captured sailors.
“I, the president of Ukraine, find out about our international steps from the Internet, more precisely from the Ukrainska Pravda. I’m talking about the note which we received from the Russian Federation concerning the return of our sailors and the note of the answer which the Ministry of Foreign Affairs sent,” said the president.
In his emotional speech, Zelensky urged public explanations from Klimkin. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs responded.
Foreign Minister of Ukraine Pavlo Klimkin said that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine had the power, without the consent of the president, to direct the response to the note of Russia regarding the trial of Ukrainian prisoners of war.
“Of course, we had all the powers to formulate such a note as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine. This note was made within the framework of our communication and our court case on the international tribunal… We do not need additional coordination in this context, since the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is authorized to conduct this case, both by the International Tribunal and by other courts. And this is our stand,” Klimkin said in the commentary to the Ukrainska Pravda publication.
Klimkin said that the Ukrainian note covers only the international legal position of Ukraine, which doesn’t contain “any political moments.”
The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, at a meeting in Hamburg in the case of seized Ukrainian sailors by Russia on May 25, ordered Russia to immediately release warships and return them under the control of Ukraine. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia has previously stated that the UN Tribunal has no jurisdiction to consider a case involving the seizure of Ukrainian sailors. But president Zelensky in his appeal to Putin asked to return “children to their parents”.
The observer Serhiy Dibrov explained in detail why the proposal of the head of state “to simply return the sailors” doesn’t work.
“Firstly, it meant that Ukraine had to abandon the decision of the Tribunal: the issue was solved in an extrajudicial way. Russia, not willing to give away illegally imprisoned sailors, virtually demands Ukraine’s ‘plea of guilty’ for their release. It means that Ukraine finds them guilty for all crimes of the Russians. It will remove from the Russian Federation any liability (legal, political, material) – both for injuries, for imprisonment, and for damaged ships.
Secondly, Russia demanded written guarantees that sailors in Ukraine will be judged according to Russian laws. That’s it, Ukraine must recognize the jurisdiction of the Russian Federation at the place of the incident – in the Crimea. That’s it to recognize Crimea Russian not only de-facto but also de-jure,” Serhiy Dibrov explained.
Many ordinary Ukrainians would say: it’s important to save sailors, the rest will be tackled later. But international politics doesn’t work this way and, as we can see, Russia has been gradually dropped sanctions. So “we can trade and talk to aggressor” and Europeans – can’t?
Meanwhile, Svyatoslav Vakarchuk’s party “Voice” broke into the top three leaders in election ratings. The first position is still kept by “Servant of the People” – 45.3% of those who intend to vote. Also, three of the leaders include “Opposition Platform – For Life” (12.1%) and the party “Voice” (8.4%).
Such data is given by the “Rating” group, based on the results of the survey from June 20 to June 24.
The “European Solidarity” (7.2%) and “Batkivshchyna” (7.0%) overcome this barrier too.
Most likely, in the next convocation, we wouldn’t see Lyashko, Vilkul, Svoboda party men and Sadovy people. Also, this week, the court overturned the CEC’s refusal to register Saakashvili’s “Movement of New Forces” in the elections. Saakashvili said that he had no political ambitions, and the next day it became known that his political movement, “The Movement of New Forces”, intends to run for snap parliamentary elections on July 21, 2019.
The ex-president of Georgia will take part in the parliamentary races of Ukraine, yet his party doesn’t overcome the 1.5% mark.
The Central Election Commission has drawn lots and determined the order of the parties on the ballot:
- “Opposition Bloc”
- “Strength and Honor”
- Union “Batkivshchyna”
- “The Power of People”
- “Opposition Platform – For Life”
- “Party of Greens of Ukraine”
- Union “Self Reliance”
- “European Solidarity”
- “Groysman’s Ukrainian Strategy”
- “Civic Position”
- “Social Justice”
- “Servant of the People”
- “Syla Prava”
- “Radical Party”
- “Sharii’s Party”
- “Agrarian Party”
- Union “Svoboda”
The Equality March in support of the LGBT community took place in the centre of Kyiv, uniting, according to various sources, from three to eight thousand participants and ending the current KyivPride, which started on June 16. The event was attended by activists from all over Ukraine, foreign diplomats and representatives of international organizations. On the other side of the police border, there was also a countermarch conducted by opponents of KyivPride. Despite some small incidents, the police managed to ensure the peaceful course of both campaigns – Radio Liberty reports. The peculiarity of this year was that the march consisted of thematic columns. There, in particular, was a column in support of transgender people, LGBT-military, LGBT-people with disabilities.
Later, it turned out that supporters of the “traditional values” tried to bring human faeces, packed in condoms, to throw them at opponents. Fortunately, the police prevented the faecal attack. Most likely, condoms would have burst in the hands of the radicals, so they should thank the law enforcement officers for their care.
The Equality March showed that there are only dozens of radicals that are ready to use force (and shit) against their fellow citizens. No matter what is your attitude towards the LGBT community, the fact that Ukrainian move away from violent confrontations can’t be denied – peaceful gatherings and rallies became a tendency. We learn to talk to each other, looking into the eyes. And this progress is something to be proud of.
Text by Kostyantyn Rul