"We hope that Russia will return to the Parliamentary Assembly," di Borgo said opening the meeting with Russian senators.
"It is also necessary to scrutinize Russian relations with NATO that are also frozen," di Borgo added.
Russian lawmakers have been absent from PACE, which brings together members of parliaments of the Council of Europe's 47 member states, since Crimea left Ukraine for Russia in early 2014. The assembly adopted resolutions in 2014 and 2015 barring Russian lawmakers from participating in the work of its three key bodies – the Bureau, the Presidential Committee and the Standing Committee.
Russia did not renew its credentials ahead of the Assembly’s 2016 and 2017 winter sessions and made its return conditional on the full restoration of its delegates' voting rights.