Russia moves to withdraw from WTO, WHO

Proposals for ending membership in the international organizations have been sent to the parliament

Russia’s lower house of parliament, the State Duma, is planning to discuss the potential withdrawal of the country from the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the World Health Organization (WHO), according to Pyotr Tolstoy, the vice speaker of the parliament.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs sent a list of such agreements to the State Duma, and together with the Federation Council [upper house of parliament] we are planning to evaluate them and then propose to withdraw from them,” Tolstoy said on Tuesday.

The vice speaker said that Russia had already canceled its membership in the Council of Europe, and that leaving the WTO and WHO is next.

“Russia withdrew from the Council of Europe, now the next step is to withdraw from the WTO and the WHO, which have neglected all obligations in relation to our country,” he said.

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Tolstoy added that the government is expected to revise Russia’s international obligations and treaties that do not currently bring any benefit but directly damage the country.

In April, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the “illegal” restrictions placed on Russian companies by Western states run counter to WTO rules, and told the government to update Russia’s strategy in the organization by June 1.

The decision came amid the sweeping Western sanctions imposed on Moscow over its military operation in Ukraine launched in late February. Since then, Russia has been subjected to around 10,000 targeted restrictions, making it the world’s most sanctioned country.

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