Russia expelled from Council of Europe

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Palace of Europe in Strasbourg, France.
Image: Council of Europe.

Yesterday, the Council of Europe voted to formally expel Russia after 26 years of membership, having been suspended since February 25, following the Russian invasion of Ukraine that began the day before.

Russia had already announced its intention to withdraw from the Council on Tuesday. The Council of Europe is an international organization promoting human rights and democracy.

In a joint statement by the 46 remaining Council members, the organization said: "We expressed on several occasions our firm condemnation of the Russian Federation’s aggression against Ukraine." The statement called the invasion of Ukraine "unjustified and unprovoked aggression," adding that "through their actions in Ukraine the Russian authorities deprive the Russian people of the benefit of the most advanced human rights protection system in the world."

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov called the Council "a tool for anti-Russian policy." Ukraine's foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba said there is "no place for Russia in European bodies as it wages a barbaric war of aggression against Ukraine and commits multiple war crimes."