Members of the World Health Organization (WHO)’s European region yesterday passed a resolution that could result in the closure of Russia’s regional office and the suspension of meetings in the country in response to its so-called “special military operation” in Ukraine.  

The special session of the European region to discuss this issue was held on May 10.  The draft resolution was reportedly initiated by 35 member nations of the World Health Organization.  

RIA Novosti says Tajikistan, Belarus and Russia voted against the closure of WHO’s office in Moscow, while Ukraine, the European Union, Turkey, Georgia, Moldova and Israel, total 43 countries, voted in favor of the resolution on the closure of the Mosco office, and two countries, Armenia and Kazakhstan, abstained. 

Reuters says backers consider it an important political step to isolate Moscow and said they were at pains to avoid any major impact on Russia’s health system.  The resolution reportedly referred to a “health emergency” in Ukraine, referring to mass casualties as well as risks of chronic and infectious diseases that have resulted from Russia’s military actions.

Russia’s envoy Andrey Plutnitsky opposed the resolution and said he was “extremely disappointed”.

“We believe this is a huge moment of harm for the system of global healthcare,” he told the meeting of members and top WHO officials.

Some have criticized the WHO resolution, saying it does not go far enough.  Diplomats told Reuters they had dropped efforts to suspend Russia from the WHO executive board due to legal technicalities, although members could seek to freeze Russia's voting rights at a major meeting later this month.