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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Council Threatens to Lock Out Russia

combined reports

STRASBOURG, France -- The Council of Europe's parliamentary assembly has threatened to lock out delegates from Russia and Ukraine unless they quickly impose a moratorium on capital punishment as promised.

An assembly resolution Wednesday urged both countries to honor commitments to block future executions as they had pledged when they joined the 40-nation council, which promotes democracy and human rights across Europe.

The assembly said there had been 89 executions in Ukraine and 53 in Russia during the first six months of 1996.

Russia joined the body in February 1996, and Ukraine joined in November 1995. Each promised upon becoming a member to impose an immediate moratorium on executions and to abolish the death penalty within three years.

Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin said Thursday that Russia would abide by its commitment, but he didn't say when.

"We signed it and we will abide by it," he said in response to a reporter's question in Switzerland, where he is on a visit.

Itar-Tass also quoted him as saying that "in some cases it was impossible not to execute" a defendant. He did not elaborate. ( )