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Russia will not return to Council of Europe — diplomat

‘Divorce’ with Strasbourg is not a whim, it’s a well-thought decision that took a few years to rip, Nikolay Kobrinets said

MOSCOW, March 24. /TASS/. Over the past year, Russia understood that its decision to quit the Council of Europe was the right thing to do, and will not return to this organization in the future, a senior Russian diplomat has told TASS in an interview.

Director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Department of European Cooperation Nikolay Kobrinets said: "The past year proved to us that we had made the right choice [to quit the Council of Europe]."

"Our ‘divorce’ with Strasbourg is not a whim, it’s a well-thought decision that took a few years to ripe. The Council of Europe of the present day is far from what it used to be back in 1996. Double standards, hypocrisy and Russophobia are its distinctive traits now. Clearly, with the Council of Europe of this kind, our ways have parted," the Russian diplomat said.

Kobrinets went on to say that unification principles and democratic ideals, proclaimed by the Council of Europe’s Charter were "sacrificed to bloc interests." In his words, the West turned the organization into its ideological appendage and used it to "impose its dubious ‘progressivist’ values" on Russia and to put pressure on its government and people.

"The page has been turned. There is nothing to regret," the Russian diplomat added.

He said that Russia was not going to tarnish its 26-year-long history as a Council of Europe member.

"There were lots of useful things, particularly for the development of the Russian legislation. But this chapter is now closed," Kobrinets said.

Russia withdrew from the Council of Europe in March 2022. According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, NATO and European Union countries, who abuse their absolute majority in the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe (CMCE), continue to pursue "a course towards the destruction of the Council of Europe and the common humanitarian and legal space in Europe." They "persistently turn this organization into an instrument of anti-Russian politics, by refusing to engage in an equal dialogue and rejecting all principles that serve as a foundation for this pan-European structure," the ministry added.