“This year marks the 6th anniversary of the illegal annexation of the autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol by the Russian Federation, and the beginning of the conflict in Eastern Ukraine. In my capacity as President of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, I wish to reaffirm my unequivocal support for the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognised borders.
My thoughts go to the families of the victims and all those who are affected by the conflict. We all wish that this conflict can come to an end, in this respect it is important to fully implement the Minsk agreements and to fulfil the international obligations undertaken. There have already been some encouraging steps, such as the new dynamics within the Normandy format and the exchange of prisoners last year. The Council of Europe remains concerned by reports on the deteriorating human rights situation in Crimea, in particular as far as minorities are concerned.”