MOSCOW, February 26. /TASS/. Moscow will soon determine its steps following Russia’s suspension from the Council of Europe, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a statement on Saturday.
"We will soon determine our future steps. Those who initiated and supported this faulty decision will bear full responsibility for the collapse of the common legal and humanitarian space on the continent and the disastrous consequences that the Council of Europe will inevitably face. Without Russia, the Council of Europe will lose its pan-Europe identity and eventually, its reason for existence," she pointed out.
Zakharova noted that on February 25, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe had voted to suspend Russia from the council over Moscow’s special military operation in Ukraine. "It means that Russia has been stripped of the opportunity to participate in the activities of the statutory bodies of the Council of Europe," she specified.
"The clearly politicized decision by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe is another proof that the Council of Europe has lost its independence, turning into an obedient tool for the Western bloc and its satellites, caught in double standards," Zakharova stressed.
According to her, the organization claims a leading role in protecting human rights on the continent. "However, it failed to summon the courage to condemn the criminal policies of the nationalist regime in Kiev, which has been committing genocide for eight years since a deadly coup in Ukraine. It preferred to turn a blind eye to the atrocities carried out by Ukrainian killing squads who took the lives of thousands of civilians," the diplomat added. And when Moscow moved "to put an end to these atrocities" and came to the defense of Russian citizens and compatriots, the Council of Europe promptly showed remarkable enthusiasm and joined the chorus of those who shame Russia, Zakharova said.
On February 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a special military operation based on a request from the heads of the Donbass republics. The Russian leader stressed that Moscow had no plans to occupy Ukrainian territories and the goal was to demilitarize and denazify the country. Russia’s Defense Ministry reported later that the Russian Armed Forces were not delivering strikes against Ukrainian cities. The ministry emphasized that the Ukrainian military infrastructure was being destroyed by precision weapons and there was no threat to civilians.