"Several heads of [PACE] political groups have changed their stance. Spain's [Pedro] Agramunt [of the Socialist Group], who voted for sanctions in April, publicly spoke in Berlin about a shift in his position at a monitoring committee session that took place not so long ago. As far as I can tell, more and more lawmakers are having a similar change of heart," Alexei Pushkov, the head of the Russian delegation, told Izvestiya newspaper.
Pushkov, who also chairs a foreign affairs committee at the Russian lower house of parliament, added that four of the five group leaders at PACE wanted to see restrictions against Russia dropped, with Britain being the only nation seeking to maintain them, he said.
Izvestiya cited the PACE rapporteur as saying earlier that the majority of the assembly's members were looking to scrap the embargo imposed on Russia over its alleged role in the Ukrainian crisis.
Pushkov said that Gross would be visiting Russia under the aegis of the presidential committee, which still provides legal framework for cooperation between Moscow and the assembly after the Russian delegation walked out on a PACE session in April.
In April, the assembly suspended the Russian delegation's voting rights over Crimea's reunification. Russian delegates are now planning to attend the January meeting of the assembly since the credentials of each PACE delegation are renewed annually.