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Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) decided at its Thursday sitting to deprive the Russian delegation of its right to vote, its right to participate at elections as observers and its right to participate in the directing bodies of the Council of Europe until the end of the 2014 session. Russia was obligated to return Crimea to Ukraine and to end all aggravation of the situation in Ukraine. If this is not done, the deprivation of Russia’s authority will be discussed again at the January 2015 sitting.

“These were the first steps taken by Europe against Russian institutions – the Russian State Duma. In practice, PACE blocked Russia’s rights,” said the Head of the Estonian delegation to PACE Liisa-Ly Pakosta.

“We also discussed suspending the authority of Russia, but not all deputies were in favour of this,” said Pakosta. She added that by boycotting the sitting, the Russian MPs showed that they had nothing to say in defence.

Sanctions against Russia found support from 154 deputies, 21 were against and 22 abstained.

PACE spring session is taking place in Strasbourg on 7 to 11 April. The Estonian delegation is led by Liisa-Ly Pakosta and includes the MPs Margus Hanson, Mailis Reps, Rait Maruste and Ester Tuiksoo.

The Riigikogu Press Service