Russia chose to stop participating in the Parliamentary Assembly of the European Council (PACE) because the Council postponed consideration of the resolution on the amendment of PACE regulations, said Vice Speaker of the State Duma of the Russian Federation, Pyotr Tolstoy, Izvestia reports.
“Why should we participate in this "blatant circus" with rubber gloves and listen to this slander about us?” asked the Russian official in outrage. Tolstoy said that the governing bodies of the European Council, including ECHR judges have already been elected without Russia’s participation. “Thus, their decisions will not be legitimate in the territory of Russia.”
Russia had developed a plan to return to PACE that would have effectively bypassed sanctions. Some European Parliamentarians supported it, but the Ukrainian delegation issued PACE an ultimatum: if Russia returns to the PACE without significant steps regarding the Crimea and the Donbas, Ukraine is ready to reconsider its relations with the Assembly. PACE thereafter proposed to review the process of imposing sanctions against Russia.