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STRASBOURG, January 27. /TASS/. Deputy head of the Russian delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) Leonid Slutsky on Tuesday urged the assembly rapporteurs to get familiarised with the conditions of life of Ukrainian refugees in Russia and offer cooperation to Ukraine’s delegation to PACE.
"The Russian president and every Russian are not indifferent to the life of the people fleeing hostilities in the south-east of Ukraine, therefore an overwhelming majority of them - about a million people, are staying in Russia. We invite the Parliamentary Assembly rapporteurs to get familiarised with theirs rather decent life conditions," he said at a PACE debate on Ukrainian refugees and displaced persons.
Speaking of a humanitarian catastrophe in Ukraine, "we must avoid making political assessments and attaching labels, but talk about pooling our efforts," Slutsky said, offering close co-operation to the Ukrainian delegation. "We are ready to work in any contact group that would aim to improve the humanitarian situation," he said.
"It was not Russia that cut Ukraine’s south-east from electricity supply, not Russia disconnected Ukraine’s south-east from bank settlement services, not Russia stopped pension support for the aged living in this territory, not Russia launched attacks from the Grad and Uragan multiple launch systems, of which they are trying to accuse us," said the Russian delegation deputy head, adding that the OSCE mission head on Monday "disproved the rumours suggesting that shelling attacks on Mariupol were launched from the territories controlled by the people’s militia in Ukraine’s south-east." According to him, such disinformation is the result of "global lies with absolute misperception by the European institution of the real causes" of the developments in the southeast of Ukraine.
The PACE session that opened on January 26 is to reapprove the powers of all delegations to the assembly. However, the credentials of the Russian delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe have been challenged on substantive grounds on the opening day of the winter plenary session in Strasbourg. Robert Walter (United Kingdom, EC) said he was making the challenge under Rule 8 of the Assembly’s Rules of Procedure, which refer to "a serious violation of the basic principles of the Council of Europe" and "persistent failure to honour obligations and commitments." He was supported by at least thirty members of the Assembly present in the Chamber, belonging to at least five national delegations.
The PACE Bureau has proposed to debate the issue of the Russian delegation’s powers on January 28.
"So if we continue to work in the Parliamentary Assembly, if the Assembly finds the strength to measure up to the high standards of the Council of Europe, we will find the truth and will together promote the crisis settlement efforts and improvement of the humanitarian situation in Ukraine," the Russian lawmaker said.