Russia's State Duma adopted a statement "On the Situation around Russian Participation in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE)" at a plenary meeting on Thursday, January 17, saying the lawmakers will not send its delegation in 2019.
"In the current situation, the State Duma sees no reasons for return of the Russian delegation to PACE and the resumption of payment of contributions to the budget of the Council of Europe by the Russian Federation. In this regard, members of the State Duma declare that it is inexpedient to send an application for confirmation of the powers of the members of the Russian delegation to PACE in 2019," the document says, according to the State Duma's website.
According to Chairman of the State Duma Viacheslav Volodin, the decisions are made "solely in the interests of the Russian citizens." The Russian delegation has been deprived of the right to vote in PACE for several years.
"PACE has departed from the principles of democracy, it completely ignores the principles of the work of parliamentary structures, based precisely on the ability to speak, voice and defend a position," Volodin said.
As UNIAN reported earlier, the PACE on April 10, 2014, deprived the Russian delegation of its voting rights in the body over Russian aggression against Ukraine. The Russian delegation also lost the rights to be represented in the Bureau of the Assembly, the PACE Presidential Committee, the PACE Standing Committee, and the rights to participate in election-observation missions.
Russia in June 2017 cancelled its annual payment to the Council of Europe for 2017 after claiming its 18 delegates were being "persecuted" in response to the illegal annexation of Ukraine's Crimea. The Russian side warned that no future payments would be made until the rights of the Russian delegation to the PACE "are fully restored."