Skift Take

Russia may have pulled out, but the vote will still go ahead as without this formal process the suspension won't be immediate. If it goes through, expect more international organisations to follow suit.

The United Nations World Tourism Organisation said on Wednesday that Russia had decided to quit the international agency just as its member states were preparing to vote on Russia’s suspension over its invasion of Ukraine.

A UNWTO spokesman said that despite Russia’s withdrawal, the assembly would still suspend it as that move would have immediate effects while the formal pull-out process would take a year to complete.

Zurab Pololikashvili, the secretary general of the Madrid-based UNWTO, said earlier he hoped members would vote to suspend Russia and show an example to other international organisations.

A two-thirds majority of 160 total member states must back the suspension, which would only have symbolic consequences for Russia.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters the decision to quit the UNWTO would not affect the country’s tourism.

“The tourism sector, especially that for domestic tourism, will continue its development. The external directions for tourism are also open, hinging on questions of competition in terms of quality and price,” he said.

He did not elaborate further.

The U.N. General Assembly earlier this month voted to suspend Russia from the U.N. Human Rights Council over reports of human rights abuses in Ukraine, prompting Moscow to announce it was quitting it.

Russia, which calls its actions in Ukraine a “special operation” to disarm Ukraine and protect it from fascists, has denied such accusations. Ukraine and the West say it uses a false pretext for an unprovoked war of aggression by Moscow.

(Reporting by Corina Pons, writing by Andrei Khalip, Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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Tags: russia, Russia war, tourism, ukraine, united nations, unwto

Photo credit: Saint Basil's Cathedral. Church in Red Square in Moscow, Russia. Social Income / Unsplash