21 January 2015 – During the upcoming PACE session in Strasbourg next week, the delegates are set to review the credentials of the Russian delegation, whose voting rights have been suspended since April 2014. The Russian delegation has also temporarily lost the right to be represented in the Assembly’s leading bodies and has been banned from participating in the election observation missions.
The Open Dialogue Foundation calls on the members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe to carefully consider the countless violations of international laws and obligations committed by the Russian Federation in connection to the aggression on Ukraine.
The Russian delegation’s voting rights have been suspended in April 2014 because of the unlawful annexation of the Crimean peninsula in March, the threat of military force and the military occupation of the Ukrainian territory. In it’s April resolution, the Assembly reserved itself the right to fully annul the credentials of the Russian delegation, should the Russian Federation not reverse the annexation of Crimea and de-escalate the situation.
When debating the credentials of the Russian delegation next week, members of the Assembly should ask themselves a few critical questions: has anything been done by the Russian Federation to improve the situation, de-escalate the conflict, reverse the illegal annexation of Crimea?
The answer is – no. To the contrary, Russia has kept fuelling the separatists’ military capacity in the East of country, amassing troops along the Ukrainian border, detaining and trying political prisoners of Ukrainian citizenship and exerting military and economic moves aimed at threatening Ukraine into the corner. Russia’s actions constitute a clear threat to the whole Europe.
There are absolutely no grounds to grant the Russian delegation back their voting and other suspended rights, if anything the restrictions should go even further, banning the Russian delegates from participating in the PACE sessions and the works of its committees, said Lyudmyla Kozlovska, President of the Open Dialogue Foundation. Providing Russia with the right to vote at PACE would constitute a huge mistake and lead to the situation where the Russian delegation, along with pro-Russian allies at PACE could block important decisions criticising illegal actions of the Russian Federation in Ukraine. By ostensibly ignoring the international diplomatic status of Nadia Savchenko, Ukrainian MP and delegate to PACE, Russia shows it does not adhere to the its basic commitments and is not willing to engage in a peace dialogue. The reaction of PACE has be strong and clear, she added.
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