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Council of Europe may help find solution to human rights crisis in Ukraine — Russian envoy

Both the leaders and members of the Council of Europe should focus more attention on human rights in Ukraine, in particular on rights of the Russian-speaking population, in order to improve the situation in that country, Russia’s Permanent Representative to the Council of Europe Ivan Soltanovsky said in an interview with TASS.

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“The Council of Europe should remember its monitoring obligations towards Ukraine and more attentively follow the human rights situation in that country, focusing their attention on the rights of Russian-speaking citizens along with those of ethnic minorities and Russian journalists. This work will definitely have a positive effect on both Ukraine and European international organizations,” Soltanovsky said when asked how the Council of Europe could influence the settlement of the conflict in Ukraine.

The Russian diplomat pointed out that the Council of Europe had already taken certain steps and also reminded of the recent ruling of the Venice Commission, which recommended Ukraine should delay the introduction of the law on mandatory use of the Ukrainian language in all spheres. Along with this, “a single ruling by the Venice Commission is not enough.”

“We need a powerful signal from the Council of Europe’s leadership to Ukraine, saying that massive human rights violations, which we see across Ukraine, are unacceptable. The Council of Europe should stop ‘feeling pity’ for Kiev and stop giving it trust loans in return for statements about its European integration,” Soltanovsky stressed.

Apart from that, he mentioned the Ukraine-initiated Baltic Plus political group set up at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), since it is quite natural to expect anti-Russian moves at the PACE session in January.

“This association runs counter to the spirit of PACE, which, in conformity with the Statute of the Council of Europe, should operate to ensure more unity among its member states,” the envoy noted.

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