Council of Europe: Russian staff leave Strasbourg, says the Quai d’Orsay
Staff from the Russian representation in Strasbourg were to board a Russian flight on Wednesday (July 6) and leave French territory three months after Moscow was expelled from the Council of Europe, the Quai d’Orsay said.
“Following the exclusion of the Russian Federation from the Council of Europe last March and the resulting closure of its representation in Strasbourg, this repatriation flight organized by Russia enabled staff and their families to permanently leave French territory”according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
When questioned, the ministry gave no additional details on the number of people affected, the exact time or their airport of departure.
The various sources contacted by AFP in Strasbourg or Paris did not comment on this information.
Around 6:30 p.m. (4:30 p.m. GMT), the street where the Russian embassy is located in Strasbourg, a city in eastern France where the European Union institution is based, was blocked by gendarmerie vans, noted an AFP journalist.
According to the specialized flight tracking site FlightRadar24, “an official Russian aircraft” was at the end of the afternoon about to arrive at Basel-Mulhouse international airport located about 130 kilometers from Strasbourg.
AFP found that several buses were parked in front of the embassy, as well as about fifteen law enforcement motorcyclists.
According to FlightRadar24, the plane followed a particularly long route over Turkey and the Mediterranean before entering French airspace.
Russian planes are no longer allowed to fly over Europe, under international sanctions decided in the wake of the invasion of Ukraine on February 24.
Russia was officially expelled on March 16 from the Council of Europe, of which it had been a member since 1996, after the launch of its military offensive in Ukraine.
A watchdog for human rights in Europe, the Council of Europe, created in 1949, until then brought together almost all the states of the continent, 47 in total, including Russia and Ukraine.
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