The delegation of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), which arrived in Ukraine to assess the pre-election climate, has left the country ahead of schedule. PACE representatives explained that the premature departure was based on Ukraine’s withdrawal of its invitation to PACE to send observers for the country’s upcoming snap parliamentary elections.
“The pre-electoral delegation has decided to cease its activity prematurely,” PACE said in a statement published on Wednesday, 3 July.
The delegation worked in Kyiv on 2 and 3 July. During that time, the PACE representatives met with members of a number of Ukrainian political parties, public societies and the media, the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, as well as various diplomats based in Ukraine.
The PACE delegation was made up of Mart van de Ven (Netherlands, ALDE), Aleksander Pociej (Poland, PEE/CD), Marco Nicolini (San Marino, UEL), and Nagif Hamzayev (Azerbaijan, FDG).
The Verkhovna Rada’s decision to withdraw its invitation to the PACE observers was a response to a recent decision by the assembly. On the evening of 24 June, PACE lifted the sanctions on the Russian delegation without any additional conditions. The following day, PACE fully reinstated the Russian delegation’s rights.
Russia has not met a single condition for reinstatement in the organization. It has not de-occupied Ukraine’s Crimea and Donbas or released the Ukrainian political prisoners or prisoner-of-war sailors.
On 1 July, Ukraine’s parliamentary committee on foreign affairs advised parliament to suspend the involvement of its permanent delegation in the functioning of PACE until the conclusions of the Venice Commission are obtained.
The Ukrainian and Georgian delegations have also appealed the decision to reinstate Russia. Ukrainian MPs have advised President Volodymyr Zelensky and the Foreign Ministry to reconsider the expedience of involvement in other organs of the Council of Europe.
Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Ukraine, Slovakia, Georgia and Sweden plan to draft a joint resolution in PACE opposing the reinstatement of the Russian delegation.