Russia suspends payments to Council of Europe over Crimea row

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov speaks during a joint news conference with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian following their meeting in Moscow, Russia June 20, 2017. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia has suspended payments to the Council of Europe for this year, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday, retaliation for its delegation there being stripped of its voting rights.

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe suspended the voting rights of Russia’s delegation after Moscow’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula in 2014.

Lavrov informed Thorbjorn Jagland, general secretary of the European human rights body, about Moscow’s decision to halt payments in a phone call on Friday.

He said the payments would not resume until the rights of Russia’s delegation were fully restored, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Moscow has also been angered by a number of rulings by the European Court of Human Rights, the Strasbourg-based court that polices the European Convention on Human Rights.

The court ruled this month that a Russian law banning what it described as the promotion of homosexuality to minors breached European treaty rules. Moscow said it would appeal what it called an unjust decision. [nL8N1JH1M3]

The court said last year that Moscow had violated the European Convention in all but six of its 228 judgments in Russian cases.

Reporting by Jack Stubbs and Andrew Osborn; Writing by Dmitry Solovyov; Editing by Christian Lowe/Andrew Osborn