Debate Over Returning Russia to the Council of Europe
Although Russia continues to claim the Crimean peninsula, leads militants in the Donbas region of Ukraine, and recently attacked Ukrainian naval vessels at the Kerch Strait, Russian lobbyists have successfully persuaded some members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe to support it in its bid for re-entrance to the assembly
Photo from Ukrinform-UATV
On Monday, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) agreed to hold an urgent debate about a report, prepared by the chairman of the European Left party, Martinus “Tiny” Kox, which aimed to return Russia to the assembly and soften sanctions, European Truth reported.
However, today, Ukrainian delegate Boryslav Bereza’s wrote “The betrayal is over. In PACE, the approach to the Cox report has changed and has come to a more correct formulation of regulatory procedures…just be patient”
Kox’s report has been substantially adjusted, and “no longer allows Russia to reach its desires,” the Ukrainian delegation head, Volodymyr Ariev told Ukrinform.
Monday saw a turbulent debate, apparently with German representatives using profane language against Ukrainian delegates.
Ukrainian delegates also had strong words.
“When they were forced to admit that this was being done for the Russians, then we raised the main question, ‘What is more important to you – money or principles?” Bereza said. “We asked, ‘Why are you ready to forgive Russia for the 12,000 lives that Ukrainians gave away?”
There is a debate in Strasbourg about what to do about Russia, which stopped paying membership fees to the budget of the Council of Europe, demanding an end to sanctions on it. The Russian Federation bill is €33 million, about 7 percent of the council’s budget.
At the last PACE session in January, Council of Europe Secretary General Turbjørn Jagland officially initiated work on changes to the Council of Europe’s statute in order to return the Russian delegation to the Council.
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