Today, on 24 January 2019 PACE adopted the resolution The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) has adopted a resolution titled “The Escalation of tensions around the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait and threats to European security”.
In the Resolution , Russia is demanded to treat the Ukrainian sailors, captured in the Kerch Straight in accordance with the Geneva Convention.
“The Assembly urges the Russian Federation to Immediately release the Ukrainian servicemen and ensure they are granted the necessary medical, legal and/or consular assistance in accordance with relevant provisions of international humanitarian law such as the Geneva Conventions”, the document noted.
The Parliamentary Assembly is deeply concerned about the escalation of tensions between the Russian Federation and Ukraine in the region of the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait, which culminated on 25 November 2018 when three Ukrainian warships were manoeuvring from Odessa, on the Ukrainian Black Sea coast, to the city of Mariupol on the Sea of Azov.
“The Assembly condemns the use of military force by the Russian Federation against Ukrainian warships and their crews”, underlines the document.
The General Assembly calls for the Ukrainian and Russian sides to respect both the Treaty on the Use of the Sea of Azov and Kerch Strait and refrain from any further steps which might escalate the conflict and threaten security in the wider region.
The resolution expresses great concern about the construction by Russia of the bridge over the Kerch Strait, which it considers illegal and another breach of Ukraine’s sovereignty, as well as about Russia’s policy regarding the selective search of Ukrainian and international ships, which hinder navigation to and from the Sea of Azov.
General Assembly supports the proposal by the European Parliament that the mandate of the Special Monitoring Mission Ukraine of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), which covers the entire territory of Ukraine, including maritime areas, also covers the new area of tensions in and around the Sea of Azov
Besides, the resolution supports the proposal, made by Germany and France, that third country observers monitor shipping traffic and guarantee freedom of navigation in the Kerch Strait.
PACE reiterated its commitment to previously ratified resolutions on political consequences of Russian aggression against Ukraine and to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine
The Resolution was supported by 103 votes with 16 abstained and 3- against
This is being reported by a special reporter of Ukrinform in Strasburg