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MOSCOW, April 24. /TASS/. If the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) decides to strip Russia’s delegation of all of its powers, this will only aggravate the crisis in relations between Moscow and Strasbourg, Alexey Pushkov, delegation head and chairman of the State Duma's lower house foreign affairs committee, said on Friday.
"If the decision to completely strip [the Russian delegation] of its powers is taken, this will only aggravate the crisis in relations between Russia and PACE," Pushkov said at a State Duma plenary session.
"This won't do any good to PACE, which has already isolated itself from Russia and turned into a second-class organization," he said, commenting on calls by some deputies of the Council of Europe to suspend all powers of the Russian delegation in the assembly.
Last year, the parliamentary arm of the 47-nation Council of Europe, promoting democracy and human rights across the continent, stripped Russia of voting rights following events in Ukraine.
It suspended both Russia's right to sit on its governing bodies and Russian participation in election observer missions.
Russian parliamentary delegates left the April session before its official completion as a gesture of protest and refused to take part in future PACE activities, staying away from the assembly's summer and autumn sessions.
At the January session, PACE extended its sanctions against Russia’s delegation until April. In response, Moscow severed contact with the group for another year.
The PACE Bureau, the assembly’s governing body, told TASS on Monday a committee had recommended that a vote on the return of the Russian delegation’s powers should be postponed until the summer session, due in June.