European Council strips moscow of voting rights

Updated: 2014-04-11 06:35

(China Daily)

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Russian lawmakers at the Council of Europe's parliamentary assembly were stripped of their voting rights until the end of 2014 on Thursday over Russia's annexation of Crimea.

The assembly gathers lawmakers from the parliaments of 47 member states, including 18 Russians and 12 Ukrainians.

According to Russia Today, the Russian delegation said it would leave the assembly in protest at the decision. The head of the Russian delegation, Aleksey Pushkov, was quoted as describing the decision as a "most rough violation of Russia's rights".

Pushkov said it was odd that "nations that participated in several NATO aggressions, those who bombed a European capital and occupied the sovereign state of Iraq have the right to tell us what to do".

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on Thursday that Russia must pull back its troops from the Ukrainian border as a first step to start dialogue over the crisis there.

Rasmussen said some 40,000 Russian troops were massed along Ukraine's borders "not training but ready for combat".