Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs Pavlo Klimkin has announced that Ukraine has made a voluntary contribution to the budget of the Council of Europe in the amount of US$400,000.
"Today Ukraine has made a voluntary contribution to the budget of the Council of Europe in the amount of US$400,000. Russia uses financial blackmail against the Council of Europe. In these hard times the organization needs support," Klimkin tweeted on September 4. "Join us, or the Council of Europe will no longer be able to defend its values and principles."
The Permanent Mission of Ukraine to the Council of Europe also commented on the payment.
"The financial situation in the Council of Europe deteriorated sharply in 2017, when the Russian Federation used financial blackmail against the organization and, in violation of its international legal obligations, refused to pay its contributions to the Council of Europe's budget until its delegation's full participation in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe is restored," the mission wrote on Facebook on September 4.
"This move put the organization in a particularly difficult situation, because during the last decade the budget of the Council of Europe was formed in the face of budget cuts in most member states," the Ukrainian diplomats said.
In this regard, the government of Ukraine decided to support the Council of Europe financially.
"We've made a voluntary contribution in addition to our compulsory payments to the budget. The money will be used in the areas of cooperation that are priority ones for both the Council of Europe and its cooperation with our state," it said.
In particular, Ukraine has financed such areas of cooperation as the functioning of the European Court of Human Rights, the fight against corruption and money laundering, the prevention of torture, the fight against racism and intolerance, the integration of Roma people and other nomadic groups into society, the protection of minorities, the development of equality of women and men, protection of cultural heritage, as well as protection of journalism and journalists' safety.
"In the difficult period of the modern history of Ukraine, we have become a recipient of assistance from the Council of Europe. I am glad that today Ukraine has become a donor of such assistance. This is an act of Ukraine's solidarity with the Council of Europe in the dark times for the organization when its ability to protect its own values and principles is being tested," Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the Council of Europe Dmytro Kuleba said.
In June 2017, Russia cancelled its annual payment to the Council of Europe for 2017 after claiming its 18 delegates were being "persecuted" in response to the illegal annexation of Ukraine's Crimea.
The Russian side warned that no future payments would be made until the rights of the Russian delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe "are fully restored."