Ukraine: Portuguese parliament approves suspension of Russian ‘friendship group’

Suspension approved unanimously: left-wingers absent

Left wingers PCP, Bloco de Esquerda, PAN and Livre were ‘absent’ for a vote in parliament yesterday which approved the suspension of the Parliamentary Friendship Group with Russia.

The decision was made “because of the invasion of Ukraine”, explains Lusa.

It was taken by the ‘Commission of Foreign Affairs and Portuguese Communities”, on the understanding that it will run for “an indeterminate period”.

During discussions, Socialist MP Paulo Pisco defended that maintaining relations with the Federal Assembly of Russia in the context of the war initiated by Russia “would be a very bad political sign” by Portugal’s parliament.

He said: “The parliamentary Friendship Group with Russia emptied itself of its members during the last legislature, and we believe that in the context of international sanctions – in which there is isolation from the international community – there is no justification for the creation of a Parliamentary Friendship group with Russia”.

Paulo Pisco nonetheless kept the door open to a reversion of the decision once the war in Ukraine is over, saying: “Putin’s Russia will not be the Russia of his successor”.

For PSD MP Tiago Moreira de Sá, the decision was completely consequent: “There are friends one cannot have” in a context of war.

Bernardo Blanco of IL (Iniciativa Liberal) said the suspension should remain in force “while there has not been a transition of power and change in regime” in Russia.

CHEGA too agreed with the move. Says Lusa, the party’s Diogo Pacheco de Amorim upholds the decision “until a situation of acceptable normality is recovered”.

The Parliamentary Friendship Group Portugal-Russia dates back to 2020 (six years after Russia’s annexation of Crimea, in other words). The president back then was PS MP João Paulo Correia, with vice presidents named as Carlos Eduardo Reis (PSD) and Duarte Alves (PCP).

The proposal for its indeterminate suspension came last week, and was signed by Jamila Madeira, João Paulo Correia, Maria Graça Reis, Tiago Barbosa Ribeiro and Tiago Estevão Martins, of the PS, e by Carlos Eduardo Reis, Lina Lopes, Pedro Rodrigues, Rui Cristina e Rui Silva, of the PSD.

Source material: Lusa