MOSCOW, October 12. /TASS/. Russia is not currently paying any contributions to the Council of Europe, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko told reporters on Friday.
"No, we are not paying contributions to the Council of Europe," Grushko said when asked by TASS.
The diplomat pointed out that the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) suspended the voting rights of Russia’s delegation in 2014.
"PACE has launched a process that should have brought about remediation for the problem, but nothing has ever happened," he said. "Therefore, in 2017 there was a decision that we would suspend our payments."
"Nearly two years have passed, but there is no progress," Grushko added.
Earlier, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, leader of the LPRP parliamentary faction, said that in 2018 Russia had paid eleven million euros as a contribution to the Council of Europe.
In April 2014, Russia’s delegation was stripped of the voting rights at PACE in the wake of events in Ukraine and Crimea's reunification with Russia.
PACE discussed the restoration of the delegation's powers twice in 2015 but sanctions against Moscow were just toughening then. The Russian delegation was denied the right to vote and to take part in the activities of PACE's governing bodies and election monitoring missions.
Russia’s delegation said in response it would not attend PACE sessions under these conditions. It did not send a query for the confirmation of its powers in 2016 and 2017 because of the anti-Russia sentiments prevailing in Strasbourg.
At the end of June 2017, Moscow was reported to be suspending its payments to the Council of Europe, as Russia’s delegation was not taking part in the PACE routine. Simultaneously, Russia suggested that PACE’s procedural documents be amended with a provision stipulating no one was authorized to strip national delegations of their rights.
Since 1996, Russia was one of the five key donors to the Council of Europe. By the time some of the payments were canceled in 2017, the annual contribution had amounted to 33 million euros.