The Chairman of the Ukrainian Delegation in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Volodymyr Ariev, went on the air on Ukraine TV Channel 112 where he criticized the possible return and participation of the Russian delegation in PACE meetings. Ariev reported that Ukraine sent a serious force of diplomats to the current PACE session because a serious desire for the return of the Russian delegation was expressed during the Bureau meeting in May.
According to Ariev, this decision hasn’t gained unanimous support but if Russia does return to PACE it would mean the collapse of the Council of Europe. “Today, we have seen that there is no unambiguous attitude but the soil can be seriously palpated concerning the reaction of other delegations to the return of Russia. We have been very clear that the return of the Russian delegation will mean the collapse of the Council of Europe, which was founded 50 years ago as a home for democracy, human rights and the rule of law.”
According to him, PACE members privately say that they are strongly against the return of the Russian delegation before the country has implemented the PACE resolutions of 2014-2015. The Ukrainian delegation will not enter into a dialogue with the aggressor nation until the Crimea and the uncontrolled areas of the Donbas have been de-occupied.
“The Assembly should clearly respect its principles. If it doesn’t respect its own principles than how will it give advice to countries with young democracies—Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Moldova—and provide guidance via resolutions? No one will listen to it,” Ariev said. As previously reported, the Ukrainian delegation in PACE will work in the Committees of the European Parliament towards the goal of a visa-free regime.
On a related note, Nadiya Savchenko, a Ukrainian delegate who was recently released from Russian prison, began her first day of work at the ordinary session of PACE yesterday.