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British Council shutdown in Russia will not affect other educational programs - minister

March 17, 17:53 UTC+3 MOSCOW

"The decision does not affect other programs with Britain in the area of education and science, including student exchange programs," Olga Vasilyeva explained

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MOSCOW, March 17. /TASS/. The situation with suspension of work of the British Council in Russia will not affect other joint educational and student exchange programs with Britain, Russia’s Minister of Education and Science Olga Vasilyeva told TASS on Saturday.

Earlier on Saturday, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that 23 diplomatic staff of the UK Embassy in Moscow declared persona non grata are to be expelled from Russia within a week. Moscow also recalls its agreement on the opening and operation of the Consulate General of the United Kingdom in St. Petersburg and terminates the activities of the British Council in the Russian Federation. Vasilyeva said that all joint educational programs with the British Council would be suspended in Russia pending decision on the status of the organization on the country’s territory.

"The decision does not affect other (joint) programs with Britain in the area of education and science, including student exchange programs," she explained.

The British Council is the UK’s international organization for cultural relations and educational opportunities. It works with over 100 countries across the world in the fields of arts and culture, English language, education and civil society. Its first office in Russia was opened in 1992 in Moscow, after which the council's branches were launched in a number of cities across the country. Since January 1, 2008 the activities of all regional branches of the British Council in Russia, excluding its head office in Moscow, have been terminated as not complying with the Russian legislation.

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