The World Health Organization said on Monday, May 15, that its members in Europe had voted to shut a regional office located in Moscow, a move which follows Russia’s invasion of Ukraine launched on Feb. 24, 2022.
WHO Europe’s member states have been considering relocation of their European Office for the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases away from Russia since last year.
Russia’s diplomatic mission in Geneva did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the decision.
The motion received the necessary majority in a special meeting of the WHO’s Europe office on Monday, the UN agency notified in an email. The office will be relocated to Copenhagen, Denmark no later than January 1, 2024, the motion said.
At the meeting, Russian ally Tajikistan sought to relocate the office to their country as opposed to Denmark, yet the majority of members voted against it.
Diplomats previously told Reuters that the Moscow office closure had been intended as a political step to further Western efforts of isolating Russia, and it is not expected to have negative health consequences for Russia or global health policy.
Non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and cancer are the leading cause of death in the WHO European region, which includes 53 countries.