Russia begins process of exiting Council of Europe
Russia starts leaving the Council of Europe after Ukraine condemned the country over its military operation as the majority of the West sides with Kiev.
Moscow has started launching the procedure to exit the Council of Europe, the Russian foreign ministry said amid intensifying pressure for Russia's expulsion from the pro-European rights group.
The ministry posted a statement on "launching the procedure to exit the Council of Europe" on its Telegram account, revealing that it had notified Secretary-General Marija Pejcinovic Buric of its departure.
Ukraine demanded Monday that Russia be immediately expelled from the group, claiming that it had "no right" to remain a member following the start of its military operation in the country.
Russia was stripped of all its rights of representation the day after the operation began on February 24.
Moscow's foreign ministry cited what it described as a discriminatory move in its statement, saying, "In such conditions, our country will not remain in the Council of Europe."
Pejcinovic Buric had told AFP earlier in March, "More and more voices are demanding that the next step is the expulsion of the Russian Federation."
Russia has been a member of the group since 1996, but it said it was parting without regret.
The ministry assured that its exit would not affect the rights and freedoms of Russian citizens, highlighting that the implementation of their already adopted resolutions of the European Court of Human Rights would continue if they do not contradict Russia's constitution.
The Ukrainian condemnations fell on Russia despite Kiev committing a war crime in Donetsk, bombing civilian targets in the city and killing 20 of them.
Donetsk republic leader, Denis Pushilin, said that downtown Donetsk was hit by a Ukrainian Tochka-U missile filled with cluster munitions.
The head of the Defense Ministry's National Defense Management Center, General Mikhail Mezentsev, touched on Ukraine's actions in Donetsk, revealing the toll of the Ukrainian Tochka-U attack, a missile containing cluster munition. He described the bombing as a "war crime."
Ukraine has also been denying Russian calls for opening humanitarian corridors from the conflict zone despite none of the pathways proposed by Russia leading into the federation.
Russia had launched a special military operation for several reasons, such as NATO's eastward expansion, the Ukrainian shelling of Donbass, and the killing of the people of the Donetsk People's Republic and Lugansk People's Republic, in addition to Moscow wanting to "denazify" and demilitarize Ukraine.