Article by: Alya Shandra
PACE President Anne Brasseur has prohibited a display of a Ukrainian photo exhibition titled “Donbas: War and Peace” during the winter session of the Assembly in Strasbourg. This is stated in her letter to Serhiy Sobolev, Deputy Chairman of the Permanent Delegation of Ukraine in Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, which was published on Facebook by Volodymyr Ariev.
Ms.Brasseur stated that the content of the exhibition may “raise controversy and, potentially, further tensions, which would not be in the interest of the work of the Assembly as a whole.” She also stated that “some of the pictures could be misinterpreted, and this would not be in the interest of Ukraine.”
At the upcoming winter session at PACE, the question of another round of sanctions against Russia will be raised.
As Ukrayinska Pravda states, there is a powerful lobby who consider it possible to fully reestablish the Russian delegation’s rights at the council. In this case, PACE would become the first international institution to lift limitations imposed on Russia. On 10 April, following Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea, PACE suspended the voting rights of the Russian delegation, as well as its right to be represented in the Assembly’s leading bodies and participate in election observation missions, until the end of the 2014 session (26 January 2015). Russia’s state-run global outlet Sputnik, set up to counter “Western propaganda,” reports that Russia’s top envoy to PACE is convinced that four out of five group leaders at PACE want sanctions against Russia dropped.
Volodymyr Ariev is convinced that Anne Brasseur is one of those that insist on reinstating Russia’s PACE rights. “By the way, she is one of those who wants to see the return the Russian delegation to the PACE hall, in spite of all principles and norms of the Council of Europe that have been violated by the Russian Federation. Madame Brasseur is going to visit Kyiv on January 12-13, and we all have to tell her our disagreement with such position. In a peaceful and intelligent way,” Ariev said, as reported by UNIAN.
The exhibition was opened in the European Parliament on December 9 without any problems (photos from Ukraine’s delegation to EU fb page):
Co-hosted by the Greens Group in the European Parliament and the Ukrainian Mission to the EU, the exhibition gathered the best 60 photos selected from thousands of images made by professional and amateur photograhers, military servicemen, volunteers, and journalists. The exhibition’s aim is to help “understand what is really happening in Ukraine to stop the escalation of the terrible events in Donbas,” according to curator Nathalie Ishchenko. Ms.Ishchenko’s speech describing more of what is really happening in Ukraine was censored from the opening ceremony, but she published it on her FB page:
“It’s hard to believe, but everything that is shown on these photos takes place in Europe today. Each image is its own story which, regretably, does not always have a happy end. These are events that have changed and will continue to change world history. Euromaidan, which marked the beginning of Ukraine’s struggle for the right to be a European country, transformed into a war for Ukraine’s right to exist as a separate state. It is led by the Ukrainian people regardless of their nationality or the language they speak.
This struggle will continue while other European countries are celebrating Christmas. At the time when lights on Christmas trees will be turned on in homes all over Europe, Ukrainian soldiers defending their homeland and its European choice will continue taking the fight in the snowy fields of Donbas and will dream of returning home for Christmas. The residents of Kharkiv, the Ukrainian city close to Russia, will continue to dig trenches at the border with the former “brotherly nation.” Boys and girls from different Ukrainian cities and villages will not write letters to Father Frost and Santa Claus asking for presents; instead, they will send letters to soldiers at the front, to their fathers and brothers, wishing them to return home alive…”
Some images from the exhibition, from assorted internet sources: