Senior Russian lawmaker Pyotr Tolstoy said Tuesday that Moscow welcomes the PACE Committee's decision as another step toward restoring a constructive dialogue, adding that the decision to invite Russia to the session in June is a recognition of the falsity of its sanctions policy.
"We certainly welcome the decision by the PACE Committee on Rules of Procedure to invite the Russian delegation to the summer session. This is another step toward resuming a constructive dialogue, which everyone has long been longing for. Now it's up to the assembly to support the proposed amendments, overcoming the destructive influence of the Russophobic minority", Tolstoy told reporters.
"We are seeing a change of mood among Europeans: many are tired of the hypocrisy and lies and have begun realizing that our country has never been and will never be an enemy of Europe, while, without the participation of Russia, it is impossible to imagine its future", Tolstoy stressed.
Relations between Russia and the Council of Europe, particularly its parliamentary body, worsened after PACE deprived the Russian delegation of the right to vote after Crimea’s reunification with Russia in 2014.
In October 2018, European Council's Secretary General Thorbjorn Jagland announced that Russia would face expulsion from the council if it did not pay its dues for two years, in accordance with to the organization's charter.
In April, PACE members adopted a resolution urging Russia to form a delegation, pay its membership fees and return to the assembly. Moscow, however, has demanded guarantees that it will be granted the right to vote before it returns.