The Russian delegation will take no part in sittings of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) as long as sanctions against it are in effect, State Duma International Affairs Committee Chairman Alexei Pushkov said.
"The Russian delegation will not attend the June session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. We have suspended cooperation with the Assembly for the time sanctions against our delegation are in effect," Pushkov said in an interview published by the newspaper Izvestia on Tuesday.
PACE Presidential Committee member, Group of the Unified European Left leader Tiny Kox was informed about the decision of the Russian delegation on May 26. The same information was conveyed to PACE President Anne Brasseur in a letter of State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin.
The Assembly administration is processing the Naryshkin letter, which says Russia does not reject a dialogue but it does reject the language of sanctions, which make collaboration impossible, the parliamentarian continued.
Pushkov added that some PACE members might hold to the sanctions.
"But our approach is unchanged. We are confident that PACE has taken an unacceptable and completely one-sided stand in the Ukrainian situation alleging that the Kyiv authorities are right in everything they are doing and Russia is responsible for every misfortune of Ukraine. The Kyiv authorities and ultra-nationalists are pardoned for everything - the Odesa manslaughter, the Mariupol massacre and the use of the army against their own people," he underscored.
In the opinion of Pushkov, Russia's participation in PACE activities with limited powers will give Russia nothing. The only thing Russia may lose is "the possibility to attend a Russophobic parade," he added.
"This [restricted membership] is totally inconsistent with the Russian status of a leading member country of the Council of Europe: our delegation is one of the biggest and we are a biggest contributor to the Council of Europe budget. Russia annually contributes 23 million euro, and only four other states - Germany, France, Italy and the United Kingdom - make similar contributions. The worst thing PACE can do is to try to isolate Russia, because in the end it risks to isolate itself from Russia," he concluded.
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