Viktorija Čmilytė-Nielsen, Speaker of the Seimas, proposes that Russia be expelled from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on the grounds that Russia has seriously breached the Statute of the Council of Europe by violating Ukraine’s territorial integrity and the principle of the rule of law. The Speaker of the Seimas points out that in its Resolution adopted back in 2014 on Reconsideration on substantive grounds of the previously ratified credentials of the Russian delegation the PACE has reserved the right to annul the credentials of the Russian delegation if the Russian Federation does not de-escalate the situation and reverse the annexation of Crimea.
According to Ms Čmilytė-Nielsen, over the eight years since its aggression against Ukraine, not only has Russia failed to reverse the annexation of Crimea, but it has consistently carried out acts to destabilise the situation in the country and has threatened and continues to threaten neighbouring Ukraine with the use of military force. Moreover, by announcing the “recognition” of the occupied Ukrainian territories of Donetsk and Luhansk, the Russian Federation has once again violated Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, international law, and the Minsk agreements.
‘We are already seeing sanctions in place, which is good, and I hope that the West will impose even more severe restrictions. We should, however, let Russia know that the kind of country it has become has no place in any organisation that brings together pro-democratic countries. One of the fundamental principles of PACE is respect for the rule of law and human rights. Russia’s aggression against the democratic world will continue until the international community itself takes decisive steps to defend it, and therefore the responsibility for the violation of democracy and human rights rests with the international community and PACE,’ the Speaker of the Seimas stressed.
According to Ms Čmilytė-Nielsen, an array of Russia’s actions in violation of the Statute of the Council of Europe makes it possible to talk about the future of the Russian Federation’s membership of the Council of Europe in general.
‘I call on the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and the Committee of Ministers to take joint action to terminate Russia’s membership of the Council of Europe,’ the Speaker of the Seimas said.