PACE extends sanctions against Russian delegation
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) has extended sanctions against Russia until a plenary session in April. The sanctions include suspension of voting rights, participation in standing committees and monitoring of elections as part of PACE delegations.
The relevant resolution was adopted based on findings that Russia has not implemented obligations set out in PACE resolution adopted in April 2014, whereas the situation in eastern Ukraine has considerably deteriorated.
Chairwoman of the Lithuanian Seimas Delegation, Birutė Vėsaitė, participated in PACE debates and urged to suspend Russia's voting rights because the situation in Ukraine has been dramatically worsening while Russia continued to deny supporting terrorists in eastern Ukraine and has not implemented a single obligation undertaken in PACE resolution nine months ago. According to the Lithuanian politician, if restrictions on voting are lifted, this would trample democratic values of the Council of Europe while Russia continues to escalate the conflict in Ukraine. Vesaite told those MPs who called for maintaining a dialogue with Russia that suspension of voting rights is not suspension of participation in PACE. According to her, it is Russia who refuses to engage in dialogue by threatening not to participate in the work of PACE unless it is granted the right to vote.
Emanuelis Zingeris, Deputy Chairman of the Seimas Delegation who has been a member of PACE since 1993, quoted to the MPs the accession commitments most of which have not been fulfilled by Russia. Zingeris rhetorically questioned where prominent Russian democrats such as Sergei Kovalev and others are, who were members of PACE in the times of Boris Yeltsin. "Have they become "foreign agents" under the latest Russian Laws", wondered the MP. "What dialogue can we talk about with the country which violates fundamental international commitments including the Helsinki Accords. If we justify aggression against another country, we will open Pandora's box for the revision of all borders in Europe," warned Zingeris.