Situation in Ukraine, CMCE meeting 1225
The comprehensive decision reflects and summarizes the main provisions of previous decisions of the Council of Europe on the Ukraine issue, effectively fixing the position of the Committee of Ministers.
Paragraph 1 of the decision not only confirms the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, but also stresses that the territorial integrity of Ukraine shall be considered exclusively «within its internationally recognized borders.»
This important clarification blocked the way for speculation by the Russian side that the CMCE in its decision of February 26, 2014, confirmed the territorial integrity of Ukraine «taking into account the right of the people of Crimea to self-determination.»
In line with the CMCE’s principled position, Paragraph 2 of the decision «condemned the illegal annexation by the Russian Federation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol» and stressed once again that it «cannot form the basis for any alteration of their status.»
While the second part of the paragraph, after the adoption of UNGA Resolution A/RES/68/262 «Territorial Integrity of Ukraine» (March 27) and approval of the conclusion of the Venice Commission CDL-AD (2014) 002 on compliance with the constitutional principles of the ARC decision, became an unwavering element of CoE decisions on the situation in Ukraine, the first part was formulated in an unprecedented manner: not only did the Council state the invariability of Crimea’s status, it condemned the illegal annexation of the peninsula.