Russia on Tuesday formally quit the Council of Europe, a human rights watchdog based in Strasbourg, pre-empting possible expulsion over its attack on its neighbor Ukraine.
Pyotr Tolstoy, head of the Russian delegation at the Council's Parliamentary Assembly, handed a letter from Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to the Council's secretary-general announcing Moscow's decision, the Tass news agency reported.
The Council of Europe previously suspended Russia's rights of representation on February 25, in response to its invasion of Ukraine that had commenced a day prior.
"The course of events becomes irreversible. Russia does not intend to put up with these subversive actions carried out by the collective West in line with the imposition of a 'rules-based order' to replace international law trampled by the United States and its satellites," the Russian foreign ministry said.
"Russia will not participate in the transformation by NATO, and the EU obediently following them, of the oldest European organization into another platform for incantations about Western superiority and narcissism. Let them enjoy communicating with each other – without Russia."
The Council of Europe is one of the oldest European intergovernmental organizations. It was founded after World War II to "promote human rights through international conventions," and advocate for democracy and rule of law. It has 47 member states, including Russia.
According to The Independent, Russia's voting rights were previously suspended temporarily in 2014 over its invasion of Crimea. Moscow had responded by not paying its membership fees. Politico reported that Russia's voting rights were restored in 2019.