MOSCOW, September 13. /TASS/. Ukraine’s threat to withdraw from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) in case the Russian delegation’s powers are confirmed, attests to Kiev’s failure to understand the values that are considered to be European, head of the Federation Council upper house International Affairs Committee Konstantin Kosachev wrote on his Facebook page, commenting on a statement on the issue made by Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavel Klimkin.
The senator noted that the Ukrainian authorities’ behavior is "another meaningless PR stunt playing the role of an offended child intended for Western audiences," which could be disregarded. However, this approach also suggests "a deep and crucial lack of understanding of those values, which are considered to be European and which are certainly shared by Russia." "Actually, this has been confirmed by Crimea and, prior to that, by South Ossetia and Abkhazia," Kosachev added.
"These values concern, first and foremost, the individual and his rights and only then - everything else," the parliamentarian said. He pointed out that during the time that has passed since Crimea’s reunification with Russia, Kiev "has never deemed it necessary to think about people living in Crimea, and contact them with any explanations, apologies or promises."
"For Kiev, these people do not exist. There are only territories, property on these territories, money and resources," he noted, adding that this approach differs little "from the mentality seen during the era of slavery, or the Stalinist era."
This interpretation of values by the authorities in Kiev is very different from the one in Russia, the senator said. "That is why sometimes one may want to ask the following question: Do Europeans themselves share European values?" Kosachev questioned, recalling sanctions "against millions of Crimeans", the absence of Western response to the subversive activities and attempted terrorist attacks on the peninsula, the persecution of dissidents and the glorification of Nazi collaborators. "Perhaps, the Ukrainian delegation’s timeout in PACE will turn out to be salvation for this organization’s tarnished reputation," he added.
Russia’s delegation at PACE was deprived of its key rights in April 2014 due to the developments in Ukraine and Crimea’s reunification with Russia. In 2015, PACE voted twice on a possibility of restoring the Russian delegation’s powers but the restrictions remain in force. Russia has been stripped of the right to vote and take part in the PACE governing bodies and its monitoring activities.
Owing to these restrictions, the Russian delegation suspended its participation in PACE’s work until late 2015. The leadership of the Russian delegation has repeatedly said it would return to PACE only if all the sanctions were lifted. In January 2016, Russia refused to submit a bid to reconfirm the delegation for this year.
Russian State Duma Speaker Sergey Naryshkin told reporters following the September 7 talks with the PACE delegation led by its President Pedro Agramunt that the organization’s leadership said it is looking forward to the full resumption of Moscow’s work in the assembly. Naryshkin also confirmed that Russian lawmakers are ready to continue full-scale cooperation with PACE but "observing the principle of equality, which is fundamental for that organization."