MOSCOW, March 3. /TASS/. Russia has turned down a proposal of President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) Anne Brasseur to establish a working group in Ukraine, a senior Russian lawmaker said on Tuesday.
Alexey Pushkov, chairman of the international affairs committee at the State Duma (lower house of the Russian parliament) - head of Russia’s delegation to PACE, said in an interview with the Izvestia newspaper that Russia cannot interact with the organization in the conditions of Assembly’s sanctions imposed on it.
The politician said that after the January session of PACE "the State Duma started to receive letters, including from PACE head Brasseur, with a proposal to establish a working group on Ukraine, as well as inquiries about whom they can meet in Russia over some reports."
"We told them that in the conditions of sanctions no interaction is possible until the end of the year," said the lawmaker.
According to him, some European parliamentarians have expressed the hope that Russia will return to the Assembly and continue its work in PACE. "However, we have already stated that we froze our relationship until the end of the year, as we are strongly opposed to the renewal of sanctions," the Duma committee head said.
At its April 2014 session, PACE stripped the Russian delegation of the right to vote until January 2015 and excluded it from all Assembly’s management bodies for Crimea’s reunification with Russia
PACE’s January 2015 session extended sanctions against the Russian delegation depriving it of the right to vote and participate in the organization’s leading bodies till April. Russia, in turn, suspended all contacts with PACE till the end of 2015.