PACE demands that Russia cease military interference in Donbas

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) demands that Russia “put an end to its military interference” in eastern Ukraine, according to a resolution adopted on Thursday, January 30, at a meeting during PACE’s winter session in Strasbourg devoted to the assembly’s monitoring procedure between January and December 2019.

In the document, PACE members call on Moscow to “fully comply with the Minsk agreements” and stop supporting “illegal armed groups” in the Donbas.

The Russian delegation, in turn, voiced its disagreement with a number of the resolution’s items. State Duma member Nikolay Ryzhak remarked that, despite Moscow’s protests, the assembly even worded the document more strongly, adopting an amendment put forward by the Ukrainian delegation.

“After this formulation, it started to look like: ‘fully implement the Minsk Agreements’, of which Russia is a participant,” Interfax cites Ryzhak as saying. “We categorically do not agree with the text of the resolution,” said Russian MP and delegation member from Chechnya Shamsail Saraliev.

“The resolution emphasizes Russia’s complicity in the crash of the Malaysian flight MH17 in 2014, which does not correspond to reality,” Saraliev wrote on his Telegram channel.

PACE also demands that Russia cease its illegal annexation of Crimea, cooperate fully and unconditionally with the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) and the Dutch Public Prosecution Office in bringing to accountability those responsible for the deaths resulting from the downing of flight MH17.

Furthermore, assembly members expect Russia to take effective measures to prevent LGBT rights violations, especially in Chechnya, and to cooperate fully with the global community in the investigation of the murder of oppositionist Boris Nemtsov.

Moscow is also exhorted to cease its “annexation of the Georgian regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia,” the document states.

Finally, PACE expressed concern regarding the negative trends in “democracy, rule of law and human rights” in Russia.

Recently PACE fully confirmed the credentials of the Russian delegation and adopted a new procedure which allows the organization to exclude a country if it disregards human rights.

In August 2019, then Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev signed an order to pay the contributions owed by Russia to the Council of Europe (CoE) for 2017-2018.

At the end of January, a TASS source in Russian diplomatic circles confirmed that Russia had completely met all of its financial obligations towards the CoE. Daniel Holtgen, Spokesperson of the CoE Secretary General, pointed out that the penalty for overdue payments amounted to €8.8 million.

According to the Russian mass media, Russia owed around €85 million for 2017, 2018 and 2019.

  PACE, Donbas, Russia, Ukraine