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Ukraine urges Council of Europe rights watchdog to expel Russia

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By Reuters
Ukraine urges Council of Europe rights watchdog to expel Russia
Ukraine urges Council of Europe rights watchdog to expel Russia   -   Copyright  Thomson Reuters 2022

– Ukraine on Monday urged the Council of Europe, a European body designed to uphold human rights and the rule of law across the continent, to expel Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.

The Council of Europe, which is separate from the European Union, suspended Russia’s membership on Feb. 25 and is now debating whether to bar it altogether, which would be a first since the pan-Europe institution was set up after World War Two.

“We demand that a decision is approved to immediately oust Russia from the Council of Europe,” Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmygal told Council of Europe lawmakers via videolink.

Those responsible for “this unprovoked and unjustified aggression (against Ukraine) cannot stay in the single European family where human life is the highest value,” he said.

Russia’s foreign ministry last week said Moscow would stop participating in the Council of Europe.

The Russian delegation to the council’s parliamentary assembly is suspending its participation and will not take part in meetings, Russia’s RIA news agency cited a member of the Russian delegation as saying on Monday. [nS8N2UP03Y

The Kremlin had said last month that the suspension of Russia’s membership in the Council of Europe was “really unfair” but added the move provided a good reason “to slam the door” for good on the organisation, giving Moscow an opportunity to restore the death penalty for dangerous criminals.

Russia describes its invasion of Ukraine as a “special operation” to demilitarise and “denazify” Ukraine. Ukraine and Western allies call this a baseless pretext for a war of choice.

“We need to join our efforts, not only to help Ukraine, but to help all of Europe,” Shmygal told the Strasbourg-based assembly on Monday, before receiving a standing ovation.