MOSCOW, September 24. /TASS/. The Russian delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly to the Council of Europe has asked the Council to influence the French authorities in order to prevent restrictions being imposed on the participants of the upcoming PACE session based on the coronavirus vaccines that were administered, delegation head Pyotr Tolstoy said in his Telegram channel Friday.
According to the official, the Russian delegation "asks the Council of Europe to influence the French authorities in order to prevent the segregation of national delegations based on the use of one or another coronavirus vaccine in their countries."
On Friday, Tolstoy took part in the PACE Bureau meeting.
"Amid the establishment of cooperation between Russia and the Council of Europe structures, the French government seeks to restrict the movement of Russian delegation members across Strasbourg under the pretext of sanitary measures taken by French authorities to fight the COVID pandemic," he noted, adding that France does not recognize the Sputnik V vaccine.
"Thus, the French discriminated against the Russians compared to our colleagues from other countries - in particular to the authors of Russophobic resolutions (Ukrainians, citizens of Baltic states and others). Meanwhile, we provide normal working conditions to all Europeans coming [to Russia] and we do not lock people away in quarantine," Tolstoy noted.
He explained that, for French authorities, all countries are being "classified by zones, not based on the incidence rate or on the potential danger of foreigners coming from there, but instead by the name of the vaccine used there."
"Russia is included in the so-called red zone, because we do not use AstraZeneca, Moderna or Pfizer vaccines," he said.
Tolstoy underscored that the "vaccine discrimination takes place under the silent consent and non-intervention of the Council of Europe."
"In these conditions, the Russian delegation will not travel to Strasbourg, we will observe the work remotely," Tolstoy concluded.
On Thursday, Russian senator Vladimir Krugly stated that the Russian delegation was barred from moving freely across Strasbourg during the PACE autumn session due to a lack of certificates on vaccination with an EU-approved vaccine. According to Krugly, Russian senators were notified that they would only be allowed to move between the hotel and the Council of Europe building. Russian Federation Council Committee on international affairs First Deputy Chairman Sergey Kislyak informed that the delegation expects the final official position of the French authorities on the conditions that will be set for the Russian delegation to PACE.
Russian State Duma speaker Vyacheslav Volodin stated that "the Russian delegation must be allowed to represent the interests of our citizens in the Parliamentary Assembly without any restrictions."