Comment by the Information and Press Department of the Russian MFA on Anti-Russian Speech Delivered by a Member of the European Commission

We have taken note of the speech delivered at the European Parliament on 18 July 2019 by European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides on behalf of the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. We regard the pronounced assessments of the human rights situation in Russia focusing on the case of Ukrainian “political prisoners” as biased and aimed at playing into the hands of that part of EU political forces which is interested in further demonisation of our country and preserving the current abnormal state of Russia – EU relations.

Excessive and clearly unhealthy interest of EU colleagues in the human rights situation in Russia – and here is a plausible explanation of the fact that this matter was discussed at one of the first plenary sessions of the newly-elected European Parliament – cannot but cause puzzlement against the backdrop of existing multiple systemic problems in this field in the European Union itself. We would like to remind that, with connivance of national authorities of certain Member States and tacit consent of the EU Brussels, a wave of Nazism rehabilitation continues to gain momentum in the EU, paving the way to proliferation of racism, xenophobia and anti-Semitism. Rights of migrants and national minorities are violated. In a number of EU countries there remains a phenomenon of statelessness, shameful for modern Europe. The situation with ensuring media freedom and rights of journalists also causes concern.

Double standards applied by the EU in the field of human rights are affirmed by EU’s failure to react critically to Kiev’s state policy of forced Ukrainisation, for instance, discriminatory laws “On Education” and “On Ensuring Functioning of Ukrainian as the State Language”, that run counter to the Ukrainian Constitution, its international obligations, as well as the letter and spirit of the Minsk Package of Measures. For some reason, neither is the EU concerned with the catastrophic situation with ensuring media freedom in Ukraine, including repressive measures taken against journalists. The case of Kirill Vyshinsky, head of RIA Novosti Ukraine website, standing trial for his professional activities on absurd charges of high treason and kept in custody since May 2018, is an eloquent example of this situation.

Recently we have been receiving signals from our EU colleagues on various levels implying their interest in developing constructive dialogue with Russia on matters of mutual interest. We are ready for it. At the same time, it should be noted that such anti-Russia attacks will hardly facilitate this process.