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Russian delegation’s credentials challenged by some PACE delegates to winter session

The contested credentials are referred to the appropriate committee, which is to report back to the assembly within 24 hours

STRASBOURG, January 25. /TASS/. The rights of the Russian delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) have been challenged on substantial ground by a number of delegates at the opening of the PACE winter session, a TASS correspondent reported on Monday.

Thus, according to the TASS correspondent, the move was initiated by Maria Mezentseva, a member of the Ukrainian parliament with the presidential Servant of the People party and the leader of the Ukrainian delegation to PACE. She motivated the move by allegations that Russia "continues to violate human rights on the occupied territories" bypassing the PACE resolutions.

The move was supported by 38 delegates. Sixty-one were against and fifty-one more lawmakers abstained from voting. Both those physically present at the session and those taking part in it remotely due to coronavirus lockdowns took part in the voting.

PACE procedures

Before a year’s first session, all national delegations are supposed to file applications for participation throughout the given year. The delegations’ credentials are validated automatically on the first day of the session in case there are no reasoned objections from PACE members. It takes at least 30 lawmakers from at least five national delegations present at the session to challenge the delegation’s credentials.

The contested credentials are further referred to the appropriate committee, which is to report back to the assembly within 24 hours. Before it is done, the delegation enjoys all the rights (to take part in the session, to speak and to vote) but cannot take part in the voting on the relevant draft resolution.

The Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol, a city with a special status on the Crimean Peninsula, where most residents are Russians, refused to recognize the legitimacy of authorities brought to power amid riots during a coup in Ukraine in February 2014.

Crimea and Sevastopol adopted declarations of independence on March 11, 2014. They held a referendum on March 16, 2014, in which 96.77% of Crimeans and 95.6% of Sevastopol voters chose to secede from Ukraine and join the Russian Federation. Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the reunification treaties on March 18, 2014. The documents were ratified by Russia’s Federal Assembly, or bicameral parliament, on March 21.

Despite the absolutely convincing results of the referendum, Ukraine and a number of other states keep on refusing to recognize Crimea as a part of Russia.