The current session was held for the first time without Russia being expelled on March 15. The leitmotif of this meeting was urgent and global assistance to Ukraine and opposition to Russian aggression. Many members of this meeting were in Ukraine and saw with their own eyes the horrors that Russia brought to our country and what they are doing to people. Therefore, the assembly members did not hold back their emotions and agreed on the need to provide what Ukraine is asking for. This session was unique in that its resolution demanded that Ukraine be supplied with weapons to protect its territory and close the skies from Russian aggression. The fact is that PACE is aimed at human rights and has never discussed the need to arm any side. This was announced by the German representative Frank Schwabe, whose report became the basis for the PACE resolution 2022. He also added that the Council of Europe should be united with Ukraine, and "all our thoughts and feelings should be with the Ukrainians."
The Parliamentary Assembly voiced a demand for the organization of an international military tribunal to investigate Russian war crimes on the territory of Ukraine and against Ukrainians. Also, PACE members supported the idea of what the US and Canada are already working on at the legislative level — to nationalize the frozen assets of the Russian Federation and transfer them to the restoration of Ukraine, the humanitarian needs of Ukrainians, and the maintenance of refugees.
"The ongoing aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine is in itself an act of unprecedented severity, and its far-reaching consequences are being felt throughout the world," the resolution proclaims. It was supported by the almost absolute composition of the PACE, as the modern reality confirmed: "The actions of the international community in response to the Kremlin's aggression "will determine the future of European history."
"PACE is concerned about the growing evidence of atrocities committed by the Russian armed forces in the context of the war of aggression in Ukraine, often targeting the most vulnerable segments of the population." Taking this into account, the members of the assembly decided "to urgently establish a special international criminal tribunal to investigate and prosecute crimes against peace committed by the political and military leadership of the Russian Federation."
PACE members who were in Ukraine shared their painful memories of what they saw. "We were amazed at the extent of the destruction and brutality of the Russian army. And even more shock was that we saw the invasion and the war unleashed by a member of the UN Security Council," French representative Jacques Le Nay. Le Nay also stressed the urgent need to "apply all kinds of pressure on Russia to force it to stop the war."
After voting on the adoption of a resolution to oppose Russia, PACE accepted for consideration a report on options for using the assets of Russian oligarchs frozen by international sanctions. The Assembly will consider the option of using the principle of "social reuse for the needs of Ukrainian refugees and Russian bombing victims." This is not the final stop in the business of Russian oligarchs and their assets. The Assembly plans to "immediately identify and freeze as much as possible" of both active funds and real estate on the territory of the PACE member countries. The apartments, mansions, and villas of Russian oligarchs will be used to accommodate refugees from Ukraine. The PACE resolution obliges Russia to compensate Ukraine for all the damage caused by the war, and the use of sanctioned funds of Russian oligarchs is considered "a way to partially repay the financial debt of the Russian Federation to Ukraine."