18:18 Jun. 22, 2016
Council of Europe introduced the first round of restrictions back in April, 2014
On June 22, the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly will consider the issue of the Russian delegation participation in Assembly's meetings.
Volodymyr Ariev, head of the Ukrainian permanent delegation to PACE writes on Facebook: "PACE will hold a debate concerning participation of the Russian delegation in the Assembly on June 22 at 8 p.m., Kyiv time. Stay with us to find out who is who".
Leonid Yemets, another member of the Ukrainian delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly, makes a warning - if sanctions against Russia are lifted, it will mean "legalization of the Russian aggression".
According to him, the situation in PACE is quite difficult. "Russians have very powerful lobbying groups [in the organization]. The French delegation does its best to cancel sanctions on the voting right of the Russian delegation", Yemets says.
He adds that Ukrainian delegates "have to fight" for every issue regarding annexation of Crimea and Russian aggression in eastern Ukraine.
"Unfortunately, PACE governing bodies and factions are sympathizing with the Russian party. This reflects an overall international policy. Europe doesn't comprehend what danger the Russian policy lead to", Yemets further explains.
In April 2014, PACE imposed sanctions against the Russian Federation following the annexation of Crimea. Since then, Russians haven't had a right to participate in elections observation missions, prepare reports and be elected for other bodies on behalf of the organization.
In January 2015, the Assembly suspended the vote right of Russia, its right to be represented in the PACE Bureau, presidential committee and standing committee.