The debates in the PACE on a resolution that could actually allow the return of the Russian delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe were tough. The process was very ambiguous and every minute the situation was changing both in the Assembly hall and in political groups – reports Olena Sotnyk, a member of the Ukrainian delegation. In the end, the resolution was sent for revision.
“I cannot say that this was the best solution (the best one would have been to reject the report). But at this stage, it means the following things. First of all, the Russian delegation will not return in the next year. Secondly, the majority in PACE hold the principles and values of the organization, as well as human rights as a priority, and they will not give in either because of blackmail or because of money. Thirdly – this is serious and indicative for Moscow – it does not have powerful allies and lobbyists who would be able, in spite of everything, to forget about everything that Russia has done.”
Olena Sotnyk also emphasizes: the struggle of the Ukrainian delegation in PACE was not only about the non-return of Russians. Everything is much deeper, “The Ukrainian delegation did not simply assert that it was wrong to return Russia, the Ukrainian delegation struggled for the Parliamentary Assembly to remain a powerful institution that has the ability to impose sanctions on its member states in order to influence them at least somehow. And to show that non-democratic states have no place within these walls.”
Probably, this is what played a decisive role. Olena Sotnyk notes, “Yesterday’s speeches showed that, unlike Putin’s lobbying coalition, the majority of PACE members clearly understand that there is a threat coming from Russia and the Kremlin’s task is to destroy Europe, to completely discredit the Assembly, its values and principles, to make it non-influence in the long run. Because this Organization is almost the only one that keeps reminding Russia that they are violating human rights.”
So the key thing for which the Ukrainian delegation was fighting is the strength of the European institution. And only then there was the impossibility of the Russian return to PACE without fulfilling the requirements put forward by the Assembly in its many resolutions: the return of our territories, the release of political prisoners, the withdrawal of troops, the cessation of hostilities and the like.