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Russia expelled from seat at UN aviation agency

The U.N.’s aviation agency on Saturday voted against keeping Russia as a member, excluding Moscow from an important international decision-making body.

Russia failed to secure enough votes to remain in the International Civil Aviation Organization’s 36-member governing council that is reserved for countries “of chief importance in air transport.” The ICAO has 193 members in total.

The Montreal-based ICAO regulates air space rules and adopts standards.

Only 80 members voted in favor of keeping Russia in the council, results show — six votes short of what it needed to remain.

Western countries have accused Russia of illegally confiscating planes, a charge Moscow denies.

This is an unprecedented vote. The group hasn’t changed in the past 40 years, except for the addition of China in 2004. Moscow had been a member of the council since it assumed the USSR’s seat in 1991.

While Russia at the meeting asked for a second vote to fill the empty seat it left behind, this was rejected. Russia decided against running for a spot in the second tier.

This was a “very clear signal that international community don’t see them at the same table,” Lithuania’s ambassador to Canada, Darius Skusevičius, tweeted following the vote.

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