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Calls for releasing from custody Savchenko as Ukraine’s delegate to PACE are groundless

“She is suspected of a crime, which was committed before she was elected (a deputy of Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada of the eighth convocation),” Alexei Pushkov explained
Nadezhda Savchenko Artem Korotayev/TASS
Nadezhda Savchenko
© Artem Korotayev/TASS

MOSCOW, January 24. /TASS/. The demands for releasing from custody of Nadezhda Savchenko as member of the Ukrainian delegation to PACE “do not have legal grounds,” head of the Russian parliament’s lower chamber international affairs committee Alexei Pushkov twitted on Saturday.

“She is suspected of a crime, which was committed before she was elected (a deputy of Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada of the eighth convocation),” he explained.

On January 21, President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) Anne Brasseur called on speaker of the Russian State Duma Sergei Naryshkin to assist in soonest release of Savchenko.

Ukraine’s citizen Nedezhda Savchenko is accused of complicity in murder of two Russian journalists in Lugansk in July 2014. She was detained in the Russian Federation and put in custody in Voronezh, and later on she was taken to Moscow for psychological and psychiatric examination.

As she was elected a deputy of Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada (parliament) of the eighth convocation, she filed resignation from the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

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. Russian lawmakers then walked out of the session in protest and refused from further participation in the PACE work. Since then the Russian delegation has not attended the Assembly’s summer and autumn sessions in Strasbourg.

In mid-November 2014 Naryshkin told the media that the Russian delegation was ready to return to the full-format participation in PACE’s work in 2015, adding that in his opinion PACE has huge potential to help in overcoming the current crisis of political trust in Europe. He also urged his foreign colleagues to renew the Assembly’s agenda, removing all unimportant questions, and adding those that are of primary importance.

The conflict between Russia and PACE reached its peak in April last year as the European body approved an anti-Russian resolution over the political crisis in Ukraine, depriving Moscow’s delegation of the right to vote, and banning it from participation in ruling bodies and monitoring missions till the end of the year.

In January 2015, the powers of all delegations at PACE are to be formally reapproved. On December 18, 2014 the Duma Council made a decision to include in Russia’s PACE delegation Duma speaker Sergei Naryshkin and his deputy Sergei Zhelezhnyak. This means that in accordance with the procedural rules, Naryshkin as the delegation’s permanent member can attend the PACE January session that will raise the issue of the return of Assembly powers to Russia.

Naryshkin said on Monday that he was considering “an optimistic scenario of PACE action [towards Russia’s delegation].” “But if other opinion prevails, as for myself, I doubt the expediency of continuation of our work at PACE - at least during 2015,” he said.