Russia withdraws from Council of Europe

Russia will withdraw from the Council of Europe, a human rights watchdog based in Strasbourg, France, as of March 15, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday, reports citing RIA Novosti.

The Council of Europe, whose brief is to uphold human rights and the rule of law and is separate from the European Union, had suspended Russia's membership on Feb. 25, the day after it invaded Ukraine.

The Russian foreign ministry's statement noted this suspension in its reasoning and claimed that the NATO and EU members are turning the Council of Europe "into an instrument of anti-Russian policy."

On March 15, Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Marija Pejčinović Burić, was given a notice of the withdrawal, the statement added.

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