Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica: Russia wages war against democracy, human rights, and rule of law

(05.03.2024.)

The assassination of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny unfortunately did not come as a surprise— this is not the first political murder by the Kremlin. Today, there are more than 1000 political prisoners in Russia, and the situation in Belarus is even worse. The only possible way in which we, Europe and the civilised world, can help them and ensure that justice prevails is secure Ukraine’s victory against Russia’s aggression, emphasised Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica, Deputy Speaker of the Saeima and Head of the Latvian Delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), addressing a meeting of PACE’s Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy on Tuesday, 5 March, in Paris, France.

The Deputy Speaker stressed that with his return to Moscow, Navalny had put his fate in the hands of the Russian people. He had hoped that Russia would have many more brave people who would stand up to corruption and tyranny, said Kalnina-Lukaševica, but it proved to be a miscalculation.

In this context, the Deputy Speaker of the Saeima noted that “even at the beginning of Russia's aggression against Ukraine, many Europeans wanted to believe that Russian society would not support it. The entire democratic world must finally realise that this aggression is not just Putin, his inner circle, or his government. It is Russia's war of aggression against the people of Ukraine, which is supported by the majority of Russian society. It is Russia's war against democracy, human rights, and the rule of law.”

“Russia understands only strength. If we are talking about a battlefield, we must support Ukraine by all means. In parallel, we need to make progress on the confiscation of frozen Russian assets and their redirection to cover Ukraine’s needs,” said Kalniņa-Lukaševica, adding that it would be a strategic move with a broad impact and a clear warning to other potential aggressors.

"It is more important than ever that we reject talk of war fatigue. Without resolute action, we run the risk of more grim anniversaries in the years ahead. If, instead, we take the right decisions to provide Ukraine with the assistance it needs, we can look forward to peace in Europe," stated Kalnina-Lukaševica.

Until 7 March, the Deputy Speaker of the Saeima is taking part in the work of PACE’s Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy, Monitoring Committee, Bureau, and Standing Committee in Paris, France.

 

Saeima Press Service

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