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MOSCOW, June 11. /TASS/. The Russian delegation will not work in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) for one more year, if sanctions against it are extended in January 2016, State Duma’s Committee of International Affairs head Alexey Pushkov, who head Russian delegation to PACE, told journalists on Thursday.
"We will not change our stance on rejecting work in PACE in case of continuing sanctions against us. That is why we will say: if a decision is made in January 2016 on extending sanctions, then our delegation will not be present in PACE for one more year," Pushkov said. If PACE prolongs sanctions against Russian parliamentarians will "absolutely isolate the organization from Russia," he added.
However, it is not likely that Russia will leave the Council of Europe, Pushkov stressed. "There is a crisis in relations with PACE, but there is no deterioration of the situation," the lawmaker said.
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.