Wed, 17 Jul 2019

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) may allow Russia to return to the continent's main human rights body in its opening summer session due to be held later on June 24.

Russia was stripped of its voting rights in the Strasbourg-based body in 2014 following Moscow's takeover of the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea and its backing of militant separatists fighting in eastern Ukraine.

The human rights protection body is scheduled to vote on a report at around 7 p.m. local time that blunts PACE's ability to impose sanctions similar to those on Russia in the future but would also welcome Russia back into the fold immediately.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron have supported Russia's reintroduction to PACE, arguing that it's better to have Russia included to promote dialogue even if there are disagreements on issues.

Ukraine has been opposing the move.

'Russia plans to roll into PACE like it rolled into Crimea -- unpunished, arrogant and largely unopposed' Oleksandr Scherba, Ukraine's ambassador to Austria, tweeted on June 24.

In May, ministers from the Council Of Europe adopted a joint declaration that would allow Russia to return to the continent's main human rights body.

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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