09:27 GMT +324 May 2018
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    Delegates at a plenary meeting of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE)

    Russia to Block 2018 PACE Payment Until Voting Rights Restored – Senior Lawmaker

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    Russia will not submit the 11 million euro ($12.39 million) fee to participate in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) in 2018 until the right to vote for national delegations is restored.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Russia will not submit its fee for the activities within the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) in 2018, lower house’s deputy speaker Pyotr Tolstoy said in an interview with the newpaper Izvestiya on Thursday.

    According to the Izvestiya newspaper citing diplomatic sources, the changes to the PACE regulations by the end of 2017 are unlikely.

    In June, Moscow froze part of its contribution to the Council of Europe dedicated to Russian membership in PACE in 2018 amounting to 11 million euros ($12.39 million).

    "We believe that there is no point in our participation in the work until the regulations [on the possibility of depriving national delegations of a vote] are changed. I would like to remind you that the Russian delegation has been fully deprived of the right to vote at PACE. Until this is changed, Moscow will not return to work in PACE and thus will not pay its membership fee," Tolstoy said, noting that the decision to strip Russia of the vote was made by the PACE minority.

    The parliamentarian also called the PACE move "discrimination against the people from the largest European country."

    PACE deprived the Russian delegation of the right to vote at the assembly's sessions after Crimea rejoined Russia as a result of a referendum in 2014, which has not been recognized by a number of state and regional authorities. Moscow, in turn, suspended its activities within the organization.

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