Russia to suspend most British Council offices

MOSCOW (Reuters) - The Russian government will temporarily ban the British Council in all regions of the country except Moscow from January 1, the Foreign Ministry said in a press release on Wednesday.

Citing the 1963 Vienna Convention on consulate activities, Russia said the British Council had failed legally to register three regional cultural offices.

“At issue is the suspension of their activities, including current projects, until an agreement between the Russian and British sides can be reached,” the Foreign Ministry said.

The British Council operates as a not-for-profit charity run as a royal charter by the British government in 109 countries, teaching English, providing business contacts and administering academic tests for students who wish to study in Britain.

Reporting by Chris Baldwin, editing by Tim Pearce