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28 Feb, 2022 16:51

UK to lead efforts to kick Russia out of Interpol

Ukraine is pushing the West to remove Russia from the international policing organization
UK to lead efforts to kick Russia out of Interpol

Britain will “be leading all international effort” to suspend Russia from Interpol at Ukraine’s request, Home Secretary Priti Patel announced on Monday. Russia has been a member of the international police organization since 1990.

“The Ukrainian government has today requested that the Russian government be suspended from its membership of Interpol, and we will be leading all international effort to that effect,” Patel told Parliament.

Russia has been a member of the global policing agency since 1990, which counts 195 nations among its members. The organization is not a law enforcement agency, but facilitates international cooperation against a wide range of criminal activity, particularly transnational crimes like terrorism, cybercrime, and organized crime.

Although Ukraine is pushing for Russia’s exclusion from Interpol in light of its military offensive in the country, Kiev has protested Russia’s membership in the organization before. Back in 2018, then-Interior Minister Arsen Avakov threatened to withdraw from Interpol if a Russian, Aleksandr Prokopchuk, was made its chief. Avakov claimed that appointing a Russian official to lead Interpol would pose “a hybrid threat to the whole world,” and the organization eventually elected a South Korean, Kim Jong-yang, to the role instead.

The UK has levied a range of punishments on Russia in light of the conflict in Ukraine. British airspace is closed to Russian flights, the UK government has sent anti-tank weapons and other “lethal aid” to the Ukrainian military, and London has sanctioned Russia’s central bank and backed Russia’s expulsion from the SWIFT network.

The Russian military offensive in Ukraine is ongoing, with Moscow aiming to force Kiev into disarming and abandoning its aspirations toward NATO membership. While fighting raged in several cities throughout the country, delegations from Moscow and Kiev met in Belarus on Monday for tentative peace talks.