Ukraine hopes head of PACE will raise such issues in Moscow as Crimea return, withdrawal of Russian troops from Donbas
Oleksandr Merezhko, Vice-President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, member of the Servant of the People faction, hopes that PACE Chairman Hendrik Dams, during his visit to Moscow on March 14-16, will be able to raise the issues of the occupied Crimea, the Russian military presence in Donbas and the case of aircraft of Malaysian Airlines flight MH-17 shot down by the Russian military.
“Mr. Dams has a wide range of issues that he can raise during negotiations with the Russians: the return of the temporarily occupied Crimea to Ukraine, interaction with the international investigation in the case of the Malaysian MH-17 aircraft shot down by the Russian military, the withdrawal of Russian troops from the east of Ukraine, the release of Ukrainian hostages and political prisoners, including activists of the Crimean Tatar people. Will Mr. Dams take the opportunity to raise these questions with the ‘Russian partners’? It will not take long to wait for an answer,” Merezhko told Interfax-Ukraine.
He also stressed that these issues are only the Ukrainian component, and besides them “there are still issues concerning Georgia, Moldova, there is also the Navalny case, which directly concerns the authority of Berlin, there is also the Skripals case, on which London’s position is known.” “Let’s not forget the huge block of problematic issues on the protection of human rights in Russia itself and the prospects for this state’s implementation of the decisions of the ECHR. That is, we are talking about the visit of a high-ranking PACE representative to the capital of the state – an international terrorist, whose representatives, due to various circumstances, are still at the common table of international negotiations,” Merezhko added.
At the same time, the PACE Vice President drew attention to the fact that this visit of Dams to Moscow is fully consistent with the powers of the Chairman of the Parliamentary Assembly. At the same time, according to Merezhko, this visit is being carried out at the invitation of the Russian side, which “uses the desire of the Council of Europe officials to somehow break through the information blockade caused by COVID-19, often to the detriment of the already destroyed authority of the Council of Europe and its Assembly.”
“As you know, last fall, the Russians were also persistently drawing Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Marija Pejcinovic-Buric in Russia, and Hendrik Dams himself, who really wanted to, but could not make a visit to Moscow precisely because of the coronavirus. It is important to note that this time the Ukrainian side, like on the eve of the visit of Secretary General of the Council of Europe Marija Pejcinovic-Buric, conveyed to Mr. Dams signals about the reputational risks of a return visit. I am sure that memories of the humiliation of Josep Borrell during his recent visit to Russia are still fresh in the European establishment,” the politician added.