Russia is no longer part of the Council of Europe, the continent’s leading human rights monitor organization, following its invasion of Ukraine.
On Tuesday, Russia announced it would leave, and on Wednesday the 47-nation COE made it official.
After the decision, members of the COE went outside the organization’s headquarters in Strasbourg and lowered the Russian flag, ending a 26-year relationship.
“Russia’s actions alone have led to this outcome,” Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde said. “We sincerely hope that Russia will one day return to the ideals of peace and democracy and regain its membership.”
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov accused NATO and EU members in the COE of “abusing their majority in the council, eventually transforming it into a tool for anti-Russian policy.”
Ukraine is a COE member state.
Its foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, said there was “no place for Russia in European bodies as it wages a barbaric war of aggression against Ukraine and commits multiple war crimes.”
Some information in this report comes from Reuters and The Associated Press.