Secretary General of the Council of Europe Thorbjorn Jagland opposed Ukraine's initiative to compensate for the lack of Russian membership fees after Russian delegation was expelled from the PACE, according to Ukraine's Permanent Representative to the Council of Europe, Dmytro Kuleba.
In September 2018, Ukraine made a voluntary contribution worth EUR 400,000, Censor.net recalls.
"This was the targeted policy of the incumbent Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Thorbjorn Jagland, who is now leaving his post, to block any initiatives related to compensation, the desire or intentions of other countries to repeat or copy Ukraine's step [Ukraine voluntarily paid EUR 400,000 instead of EUR 316,000]. That is, he undertook such a position, he consistently promoted it everywhere, that the question is not that you compensate for the difference, the question is that a member state must pay its fee and we must receive this money from Russia, not from someone else," the diplomat said in an interview with Censor.net.
According to him, such a targeted policy discouraged other countries that were ready to support Ukraine.
"And, of course, when the Secretary General took such a tough stance, even those countries that were thinking about such a step turned their back on such ideas, and the situation developed in a different way," Kuleba added.
The envoy stated that Ukraine had demonstrated with its step that it was ready not only to demand something from, but also to support PACE.
"But our conscience is clear. Because when in the course of the discussion some tried to reproach us that Ukraine constantly asks for something and never gives anything to resolve the crisis, we said: 'Excuse us, we just did something very atypical, unprecedented for us, and in very serious volumes. Because 400,000 is a very large amount in fact. And then they said: it's okay with Ukraine, no questions here, you really did everything you could," said Kuleba.
At the same time, the diplomat believes that in the future, Ukraine should adhere to its obligations and pay scheduled membership fees.
"We must adhere to our legal obligations, pay the money that we must pay. But this charity event is over, I see no more grounds for it. Therefore, now I would like that we take more from the Council of Europe than we give it. This means in a broader sense, not only financially, but also politically," Kuleba noted.
As UNIAN reported earlier, in April 2014, PACE deprived the Russian delegation of voting rights and expelled its representatives from all governing bodies of the Assembly over the annexation of Crimea.
In this regard, Russia has not paid contributions to the Council of Europe since June 2017.
Many PACE members and politicians called such actions "blackmail".
On June 25, the PACE adopted a resolution lifting the existing mechanism for imposing sanctions.
On June 26, the PACE supported the resolution reinstating the Russian delegation without any sanctions being imposed. The delegations of Estonia, Georgia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, and Ukraine decided to cut their participation in the summer session due to the return of the Russian delegation.