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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Strasbourg Move Riles Russia

ReutersSouth Ossetian and Abkhaz protesters demonstrating Monday in Strasbourg.
STRASBOURG, France -- Russian lawmakers on Monday threatened walkouts at a European human rights body over plans to punish them because of their country's military invasion of Georgia.

Members of the 47-nation Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly will on Tuesday debate plans to suspend Russian voting rights after fighting in August marked the first war between two of its members. They could vote on the suspension Thursday.

The motion was put forward by 24 members from countries like Finland, Switzerland, Hungary, Poland, Denmark, Sweden and the Baltic states, saying Russia had failed to uphold democracy and human rights.

The head of Russia's 18-strong lawmaker delegation at the human rights watchdog warned that Russian members would walk out of planned debates if the threat was not lifted.

"We don't want to have a discussion on Russia and Georgia with our credentials questioned," Konstantin Kosachev told lawmakers in the assembly.

"We need the parliamentary assembly as a forum of dialogue, of communication, not for making some countries responsible for everything," he said later.

Georgian lawmakers, however, backed the move. "Russia is not only unable to fulfill the [rights] rules, but they try to annex territories of neighboring countries," said Mikheil Machavariani, deputy chair of Georgia's national parliament.

The organization was set up after World War II to promote cooperation and human rights. Its parliamentary arm meets several times a year to debate democracy and rights issues.

Eight years ago, the body suspended Russian voting rights in the assembly over rights violations in Chechnya.