Ukraine, Georgia, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia will not be attending the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), the five delegations said in a statement published by the Ukrainian MP Elizaveta Yasko.
The démarche was prompted by PACE’s decision in June to restore the Russian delegation’s voting right, despite Russia’s ongoing occupation of Crimea and the eastern regions of Ukraine.
“We are announcing the creation of the Baltic Plus group in PACE. The delegations of the group’s members will continue to support the policy of non-recognition of the annexation of Crimea and condemnation of Russia’s lengthy occupation of Crimea, part of Eastern Ukraine and parts of Georgia and Moldova. Our first joint action is our refusal to attend the official celebration of the 70th anniversary of the Council of Europe as a sign of protest against the abandonment of the Council of Europe’s values due to contemptuous demands and financial sabotage by Russia,” the statement reads.
The Baltic Plus group will be open to other delegations joining.
Since 2014, the Russian delegation in PACE has been stripped of its primary credentials due to its aggression against Ukraine. In June 2019, PACE passed a resolution reinstating Russia’s right to vote in assembly sessions. The resolution changes the rules of PACE and makes it harder to impose sanctions, especially on Russia.