Members of the Council of Europe voted on Thursday to suspend Russia from the European human rights watchdog over its annexation of Crimea.
Parliamentarians from 47 countries at the Strasbourg-based body voted by 145 to 21, with 22 abstentions, to kick Moscow out.
The assembly is separate from the European Union.
“It is absolutely impossible that we sit here together in this house with the people who are supporting aggression and occupation and annexation of an independent state, member of the same council,” said Tinatin Khidasheli. “So Russia got a very strong message, very crucial.”
One centre-right Greek MP said the punishment was justified, but Europe should keep the lines of communication open with Russia.
“We strongly disagree and we condemn the violation of territorial integrity of a member of the Council of Europe. But on the other side we have to keep us parliamentarians this dialogue ongoing.”
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