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    PACE Deprives Russia of Voting Rights Until April, Russia Quits for 1 Year

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    Russia has suspended work in the PACE for a year following the adoption of a resolution depriving the Russian delegation of its voting rights in the organization until the April session.

    STRASBOURG, January 28 (Sputnik) — The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) adopted on Wednesday a resolution depriving the Russian delegation of its voting rights in the organization until at least the April session.

    The resolution stresses that the revision of the decision and other sanctions against Russia could be held during opening meetings of the April session if Moscow demonstrates substantial progress in meeting the PACE demands over Russia's alleged role in the Ukrainian crisis, including the protection of rights of the Crimean Tartars.

    In response to the PACE’s decision, the head of the Russian delegation Alexei Pushkov said that Russia is suspending its work in PACE until the end of the year.

    "We are leaving PACE until the end of the year," Alexei Pushkov said.

    Pushkov stressed that Russia would decide on its membership in the Council of Europe by the end of 2015.

    "Russia remains a member of the Council of Europe as its membership fees have been paid," Pushkov said, adding that the cooperation would continue at the level of governments.

    Pushkov added also that PACE monitoring missions from now on will have no access to the territory of the Russian Federation.

    “The Parliamentary Assembly may focus on all the issues it wants to, but without our participation. It is clear that it will not cooperate with Russia, and it will not have access to Russia on the monitoring missions level. Of course, all our proposals regarding all contacts are cancelled now, including Savchenko and the human rights report on Crimea,” Pushkov told journalists.

    Earlier in the day, before the PACE’s decision, Pushkov said that the delegation will ask Russian investigative bodies to allow the Assembly’s representative to meet with Ukrainian pilot Nadezhda Savchenko detained in Russia as a suspected accomplice in the killing of two Russian journalists. However, he stated that Russia will go ahead with the move only if delegation remains in PACE.

    For the first time, PACE suspended the Russian delegation's voting rights back in spring 2014 in response to Russia's reunification with Crimea.

    Russia's credentials in the Assembly were reviewed on Wednesday evening.

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