The Ukrainian delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) has made a decision to terminate its participation in the assembly's sessions, bar the questions concerning Russia's return. This follows the historic June 24 vote that reinstated Russia's voting rights within the organization.
The decision was announced by Volodymyr Ariev, the Chairperson of the delegation, on his Facebook page. The head of the delegation also urged the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy, as well as the country's foreign ministry, to immediately come up with a clear stance on Ukraine's future participation in Europe's institutions.
Late on June 24, members of PACE – a 47-nation organization dedicated to upholding human rights, democracy, and the rule of law – voted for the restoration of Russia's voting rights in the assembly. This resolution was supported by 118 members, 62 voted against Russia's return and 10 abstained from voting.
READ MORE: PACE Restores Russia’s Voting Rights
Russia’s voting rights were suspended after their illegal annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula in April 2014. The organization condemned the annexation as a “clear contradiction of the Statute of the Council of Europe” but did not suspend the Russian delegation entirely in an effort to maintain dialogue.
On June 25, the next day after the vote, the chairman of the Russian parliament Vyacheslav Volodin stated that the country's delegation has already applied to take part in the current, ongoing PACE session.
"As soon as the resolution was adopted, we applied to take part," Volodin is quoted as saying by Russia's state-owned Tass news agency.
The chairman also said that the Russian delegation has "already been invited to work" by PACE with the promise of all its "basic rights of participation, discussions, and voting being protected."
Earlier in June, Russian TV channel Dozhd reported, citing its anonymous source within the Edinaya Rossiya political party, that lawmakers from occupied Crimea are also likely to be part of the future Russian delegation at PACE.