Ms BECK (Germany) – We are not talking about Ukraine and Russia only today; we are talking about the Assembly’s authority. In April, the Assembly decided that if the annexation of Crimea was not reversed and if the situation did not get better, we would consider removing these credentials. No one is now talking about taking away Russia’s credentials totally. We are talking now about the question whether they should get all their rights, including the right to vote in the Chamber, or whether should ensure the Assembly’s authority.
Since the resolution in April, which we all decided together, nothing has got better; everything has got worse. We not only have the annexation of Crimea; we have the undercover war in Donbass. The Secretary General of the OSCE said today that the weapons are coming from Russian. We had the shooting down of MH17 and 300 civilians lost their lives. We had the rockets on Mariupol just a few days ago.
In such a situation, our colleagues from Russia are not patients. I think that we should respect them and take them seriously as adult, responsible parliamentarians. Until now, however, they have not shown that they want to debate with us. I can say that from a German perspective because I think that no Chancellor or Foreign Minister has had such close contact with the Russian Administration as those from Germany. There have been hundreds of telephone calls, tens of meetings, different formats – the Geneva format, the Normandy format, the Minsk format – and every time, the Russian delegation backed away from what it promised and signed. That is a terrible situation, and I think, dear Andy, that our colleagues – indeed, dear Russians, you are here; you must be held responsible for what you are doing. If we do not hold you responsible and instead treat you like children, that is not correct. I respect you.
Dear colleagues from Russia, if you want the delegation to stay, please do not threaten us. Do not tell us that you will leave if we do not do what you want. Yes, you are invited to come back, but you must accept that voting rights will be returned to you only when things have really started to change for the better.