Malgorzata Gosiewska, lawmaker of Polish Sejm
The West should know about Russia’s crimes in Donbas
05.04.2016 13:00 1824

The report on war crimes committed by Russia in eastern Ukraine and debunking myths that Ukrainians are fighting against only local separatists in Donbas will be read at the European Parliament. The purpose of this report was discussed in an interview with Ukrinform with its co-author, the Sejm lawmaker, deputy chairman of the commission of the lower house of the Polish parliament on foreign affairs Malgorzata Gosiewska.

- Polish media have recently reported that you will submit the report on the crimes of the Russian army in Donbas to The Hague court on April 5.

- It’s a bit incorrect information. On April 5 a comprehensive presentation of the report will take place at a conference held in the European Parliament to the European Parliament, NGOs, journalists and human rights activists. The principal organizer of this presentation is MEP Anna Fotyga from the Law and Justice party (PiS), which is part of the fraction of European conservatives and reformists.

- Will this report include the time frame for only 2014 or possibly cover a longer period?

- The report, which is already available online, includes only the events that occurred in 2014. After this presentation, as soon as possible the documents will be submitted to The Hague. Overall, everything has already been prepared for that, we need only to physically submit these documents. Of course, the report can be sent by mail, but we would prefer to do it personally. This will be done in the second half of April.

- What results do you expect following the publication of the report in Brussels?

- We want journalists, politicians and the public of Western Europe to take interest in the issue of Ukraine and in events that are taking place in eastern Ukraine. First of all, it is the role of Russia in the conflict. The issue of occupied Crimea is now very inconvenient for plenty of European politicians. Some of them frankly say that we should think about the lifting anti-Russian sanctions. Poland's position is different, and it is represented at different levels. We believe that as long as Russia does not withdraw from Donbas and stops occupation of Crimea we cannot talk about normal relations with this country and, above all, there is no reason to discuss the lifting of sanctions. Our position is to convince other countries to follow us, especially those countries which are considered the most influential in the EU.

This report is an extremely important argument. First, it demonstrates what type of war crimes have been committed in Donbas, how horrendous they are. Second, it shows who is behind these crimes. The document underlines that these are not some wild, uncontrolled gangs who are roaming in Donbas, just mere separatists ... In this report we show that the main cause of the status quo is Russia, and the persons who are directly responsible for war crimes are the representatives of Russia. We show these facts on the basis of the victims’ testimony. The Hague will receive our evidence of the committed crimes and evidence against the suspects in these crimes by specifying that in many cases they representatives of the Russian special services were involved in committing them.

- Is the evidence sufficient to convince the West that economic sanctions against Russia should be extended in the summer, and not to be lifted?

- Reflecting on the effectiveness of our actions, we go back in time to our memories of history: the Katyn case or the German concentration camps and the facts that this information was passed on to the West. Jan Karski (Polish Holocaust witness who informed the West about  the Nazi crimes - ed.) personally traveled to the West passing on this information. At that time the West did not want to listen to, take into account, and counteract, although they could do something. Now the situation may also appear similar. But the European politicians, who take key decisions, after the publication of this report, will never be able to say that they never knew what was happening there. The more we talk about these crimes, the more consistently we demonstrate this report, the more difficult it will be for politicians to turn a blind eye to these facts. The more the topic takes interest of the civil society in European countries, the greater the pressure will be directed at politicians and their decisions.

- Do you plan to present the report on the crimes in Donbas somewhere else, other than the European Parliament?

- Yes. Apart from discussing this report in Brussels, we are also planning a number of presentations in the national parliaments of other countries. These include the Baltic countries, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, etc. Also, we would like this type of presentation to be held in Western Europe. As I said - following this report it will be harder to turn a blind eye to the facts.

Yury Banakhevych, Warsaw, Poland


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