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15 Mar, 2022 15:55

Russia officially withdraws from Council of Europe

Moscow has blamed NATO countries for “breaking off the dialogue”
Russia officially withdraws from Council of Europe

Russia has officially informed the Council of Europe of its withdrawal from the organization. As Deputy Speaker of the Russian Duma Pyotr Tolstoy announced on Tuesday, a letter from the Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov has been handed over to the Secretary General of the organization.

“All responsibility for breaking off the dialogue with the Council of Europe lies with the NATO countries, which all this time have been using the topic of human rights for fulfilling their own geopolitical interests and for attacks on our country,” Tolstoy said.

He added that “due to the unprecedented sanctions and political pressure,” Russia is not going to pay the annual fee to the Council of Europe.

Stressing that Russia is leaving the organization “of its own free will,” Tolstoy explained that this “balanced and considered decision” had been taken “in the midst of yet another anti-Russian discussion in PACE,” which, in his words, might result in “another deceitful Russophobic resolution based on the peculations which have nothing to do with reality.”

Head of the Duma’s Committee on International Affairs Leonid Slutsky, in his turn, made it clear that, leaving the Council of Europe, Russia will “be forced to denounce the European Convention on Human Rights.

Writing on Telegram, Slutsky said that the human rights in the Russian Federation would be guaranteed “by all means and unconditionally.”

The same idea has been reiterated by Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. According to its statement, human rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Russian Constitution are not inferior to the provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Implementation of the judgements by the European Court of Human Rights, which had been adopted in the past, will continue, the foreign ministry stressed, unless they contradict the country’s constitution. Russia also remains a signatory of the key international human rights treaties.

Russia announced its intention to leave the Council of Europe on March 10, following its suspension from the organization over the military offensive in Ukraine. The Russian Foreign Ministry said back then that Moscow would not tolerate “the subversive actions of the collective West,” allegedly seeking “to substitute international law, which the US and its satellites have trampled on, with a ‘rules-based order.”