The report titled "Russian war crimes committed in Ukraine in 2014" was presented in Polish Sejm last week. This document was read to the Polish legislators and the public by the Sejm member, deputy chairman for the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Poland lower house of parliament Malgorzata Gosiewska.
The Polish MP told in her interview with Ukrinform about the importance of the report, its perception in Russia and the role that it can play in West’s attitude towards Putin's Russia.
FRENCH MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT MUST KNOW ABOUT THE CRIMES COMMITTED BY RUSSIANS
- French Senate has addressed the government of the nation regarding a gradual lifting of anti-Russian sanctions. What would you say as a Polish member of parliament to your French counterparts in this situation?
- It is a great shame, shame for Europe that the French politicians consider the issue in such a manner. My report actually demonstrates what Russia really does while it’s being led by Putin, and that one cannot turn a blind eye to the facts. I would really like the French parliamentarians to read this report because it was also translated into the French.
They ought to think about what they are doing. Of course, as far as France is concerned what is taking place in eastern Ukraine is a very distant challenge. They do not directly feel threatened as Poland and the Visegrad Group [Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary] do, along with the Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. We need to help French lawmakers understand this topic, show them the realities of Vladimir Putin’s regime and it might affect their decisions. I believe that these materials have to be presented in Europe in order to let the Europeans understand who Putin is and the threat which we are dealing with. They [in the West - ed.] consider Putin to be a civilized person with whom you can make deals, and they fail to reach conclusions from the past and based on the fact that Putin is a person who does not adhere to agreements.
- Do Polish lawmakers plan to make any joint appeal to their French counterparts regarding this matter?
- This all requires thinking, because the situation is a new one. Although there has been an informal discussion about easing of sanctions for some time in Western Europe, it this [the resolution of the French Senate - ed.] is the first such an official step. Therefore, we must consider what can be done next.
THERE’S NO REASON FOR LIFTING SANCTIONS
- Can we raise an issue for lifting sanctions against Russia now when fighting has been escalating in eastern Ukraine, people lose their lives daily, the Minsk agreement are not being implemented?
- There is no reason for lifting the sanctions. The Russian side has not implemented any Minsk agreement clauses, we cannot accept violations of international law because it encourages them for further action. Crimea continues to be under the Russian occupation, and this fact is undisputable. This is a violation of international law, and all agree with that statement. In connection with these issues we cannot agree on the transition to the normal agenda in relations with Russia, and we have to think about more effective action towards Russia. Russia does not yield by way of dialogue, but only through the use of force and pressure. The Anakonda military drills, which are taking place in Poland now [from 7 June to 17 June - ed.] is also a form of demonstrating of our forces [of NATO states - ed.] and unity. They are not directed against Russia but are a form of demonstrating that the Alliance states can cooperate with each other well and let Russia know about it.
- Your report on the Russian crimes committed in Donbas and its transfer to the court in The Hague, presentation in national parliaments has provoked a nervous reaction in Russia. Can you say that you have hit "the bull’s eye", and the Russians are afraid of their liability for their actions in the future?
- I am aware that some of the perpetrators who are mentioned in the report justify their actions. For example, Igor Strelkov [Girkin - ed.) justifies himself in one of his interviews with the Russian media. For me it’s important that none of the sides have doubted the report, and primarily the Russian one. We acted very cautiously while preparing this report. We collected about 60 statements from the witnesses, but this does not mean that we were talking only to people mentioned in the report. We had conversations with far greater number of people who witnessed these dramatic events. But we have not taken all the evidence into account because we were anxious that someone could doubt something. And one error would be enough and it could have influence the reliability of the entire report. Nobody has found any mistake in the report, and this I a very important to me. It shows the significance of the material, this is why it is seriously considered by the Russian side.
-There are plenty of Ukrainian political prisoners, including from Crimea, who are held in Russia now...
- And new ones are being added. There is an aggravation of the situation in Crimea, kidnappings from the mosques and so on. The history does not have cases when people were often kidnapped directly from the sanctuaries. But the Russian Federation is capable of doing everything.
THE WHOLE WORLD MUST TALK ABOUT UKRAINIAN PRISONERS JAILED IN RUSSIA
- Will Poland further support Ukraine's efforts to pull these people from the Russian captivity?
- Yes, of course. And not because we are connected by friendly relations, but because it is our duty, the duty of the civilized world. The entire world has to talk about the prisoners held in the Russian Federation.
- Do you still plan to present the report in other countries?
- We plan to hold such kind of presentations in national parliaments of other countries. We are discussing, negotiating, trying to schedule our presentation. I do not hide that it is important to ensure that this report, this image of Putin's Russia would be understandable to the European politicians, and above all to the public of these countries.
Yury Banakhevych, Warsaw, Poland