Dear chair,

It only takes a second to start a war but ending it can take a lifetime. Two years have passed since Russia’s cowardice and brutal attack on Ukraine, or ten years since the first steps of war.

Yet still today Ukrainians lose their lives. Infrastructure and nature are destroyed by Russia. The frustration of Ukraine in the situation is growing more and more evident, as is unfortunately also the growing lack of interest and necessary support of some states. I urge you all to focus on delivering all necessary support to Ukraine.

Dear parliamentarians,

The initial proposals of the rapporteur are very welcome. In a time when fundamental values are being challenged from many directions, it is important this Assembly shows a resolute and firm front in their support.

Because what are the people of Ukraine fighting for, what are they risking their lives for? They want democracy, they want human rights, they want dignity, and they want a society based on rules, without impunity and the power of the strongest. No dictator or warlord can offer them that.

Last week we received the devastating news of the death of Aleksey Navalnyi. A brave opponent of Putin, who was first poisoned by the Russia and then sent to 30 years of prison for his political opinions. We call for a prompt, independent and impartial investigation into Navalnyi’s death in custody. Those responsible must be hold accountable. 

He is yet another political prisoner to perish for standing up for the freedoms of thought and democracy. These are all included in the Helsinki decalogue – the very basis of the OSCE. And he is only one of thousands of political prisoners denied their basic freedoms in OSCE participating states such as Russia, Belarus and Azerbaijan. We demand justice to Ilja Jašin, Oleg Orlov, Vladimir Kara-Murza, Sergei Tsikhanovsky and many others imprisoned for their thoughts. Calling for their release is about defending our values of democracy, human rights, and rule of law – the very guarantors of peaceful nations and coexistence.

Sanctions, heavy fines and other measures are needed to make it clear that we cannot accept any governments who put their opponents in prison simply for their political views and beliefs. The place of opposition politicians is in parliament, not in prison , in exile or in a grave.

I have a message to Russia:

Removing the limits of presidential mandates is against the Russian constitution.

A political activity excluding the opposition and free media is not called an elections, it is simply a political activity.