Russia suspends payments to Council of Europe

Russia has suspended payments to the Council of Europe for this year, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday, retaliation for its delegation there being stripped of its voting rights. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) suspended the voting rights of Russia’s delegation after Moscow’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula in 2014, Reuters reports.

Russia was reportedly to contribute about 33 million euros ($38 million) for the year to the 47-member body that focuses on democracy and human rights across Europe.

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe was also shaken few months ago when its bureau declared ‘no confidence’ in Pedro Agramunt as President after Assad visit. Agramunt flew to Damascus with a Russian delegation that included Leonid Slutsky, the head of the Russian Duma’s foreign affairs committee, and met with Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad.

Despite PACE President’s declaration to have travelled as a Spanish senator “looking for peace”, senior MPs passed a vote of no confidence in the president, Pedro Agramunt, on 28th April 2017.

There are no legal basis to oust the President,” Agramunt’s lawyers denounced. “It is the first time that a regulatory procedure is trying to be established in order to oust the current President from his mandate through an illegal draft that contradicts the main principle of the rule of law,” they continued arguing that there is a “political objective” behind “the crusade ad hominem initiated against him.