Tag Archives: Russia

EU extends Russian sanctions

European Union leaders intend to extend sanctions against Russia over Crimea and Moscow’s involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine, the European diplomats say. (Image above: Crimea bridge at night)

According to EU diplomats the European Council will confirm its united support for Ukraine sovereignty and territorial integrity, and continue policy of the duration of the economic sanctions against Russian Federation.

Recently French President Macron has stepped forward in favour of rethinking the strategy vis-à-vis Russia, and some influential EU countries, namely Italy and Germany, have powerful lobbies pushing for effective relations with Moscow.

13.12.2019 AMENDMENT

We also had the opportunity, in the case of Russia and Ukraine, to listen to a debriefing presented after the meeting of the Normandy format, which was held in Paris by Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel. This was an opportunity to exchange views on the situation in the region and it was an opportunity, as you are certainly aware, to decide to extend the sanctions for another six months, taking into account the fact that we consider that the implementation of the Minsk agreement remains an extremely essential point for us. This is a point for which we will continue to be very attentive and very active in the future” said Charles Michel, the president of the European Council, while commenting on sanctions extension for next six months.

EU prepares Magnitsky Law

The human rights were high on the agenda of the EU foreign ministers gathering in Brussels for December Council.

The EU top diplomat Josep Borrell underlined that the issue of human rights remains a clear priority for Europeans and this trend will continue during his mandate. It is “very timely” to talk about it at eve of the International Human Rights Day, he added.

“The important thing is that, under the request of several Member States, we have agreed to launch the preparatory work for a global sanctions regime to address serious human rights violations, which will be the EU equivalent of the so-called Magnitsky Act of the United States. I was asked on this issue in my presentation at the Parliament last week and today we have decided, with strong consensus, to launch the preparatory work – and the European External Action Service will prepare the documentation for this – in order to prepare the equivalent of this Act. This will be a tangible step reaffirming the European Union’s global lead on human rights” the diplomat announced.

The Member States have also been informed about – and they have showed broad support for it – a new Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy that will be prepared by EEAS services for the next five years, Borrell explained. “The EU diplomacy will present the proposal early next year, a reference document on human rights in the world” he declared.

Answering questions of press during the conference, he added that there have been consensus on Magnitsky law already.

“Had there been an opposition from just one Member state, we could not be acting the way we have decided to act, because as you know, it requires unanimity in the Council. So there is a strong consensus”, Borrell ensured.

“Some Member States who were opposing have abandoned the opposition and joined the broader consensus. Others may still have some collateral questions and some concerns, but as Chair of the Council, I think it could be considered that [there was] consensus in order to launch the technical process of preparing [the legislative acts] to address [the matter] to the relevant bodies of the Council, in particular the working group on human rights and RELEX. We will prepare all the papers and we will launch the process.

“Well, it is important because we have some methods of this kind to deal with violations of another issue, cyber security, for example. And I think that to have a tool like this that gives across the board a method of reacting with an approval by the Council in general terms, gives us much more strength and much more capacity to react in front of serious human rights violations. We are talking about serious human rights violations. And many Parliamentarians where asking for that. And I put the question on the table of the Council of Ministers and there was enough consensus to go ahead.” 

https://twitter.com/billbrowder/status/1204349016844230656?s=21

Magnitsky Act is a bipartisan bill passed by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama in December 2012, aimed at punishment of Russian officials responsible for the death of Russian tax accountant Sergei Magnitsky (37) in a Moscow prison cell in 2009.There is a strong suspiction that Magnitsky was killed by the prison wards, refusting to accept the false accusations against him. Initially he was imprisoned after investigating a $230 million fraud of Russian tax officials, the crime was covered by prosection, twisting against Magnitsky.

Putin to meet Zelensky bilaterally

Russian President Vladimir Putin schedules bilateral meetings with Ukrainian, French counterpart Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and President Vladimir Zelensky at margins of the Normandy Four Summit in Paris on December 9, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov announced.

Peskov underlined that the Kremlin expected the Normandy Four summit will contribute to conflict resolution in southeastern Ukraine.

“[Putin’s] attitude is serious, the only expectation is to facilitate efforts to resolve the domestic conflict in southeastern Ukraine, ensure a common understanding that there is no alternative to implementing the Minsk Agreements and prevent attempts to dilute them,” spokesperson said.

Peskov expressed confidence in French authorities capabilities to succeed in creating necessary conditions for thec Summit despite the current protests in Paris.

We are not inclined to exaggerate the threats the Summit could face as we believe that the French authorities are capable of creating conditions for the meeting and will do it,” Peskov said.

Putin: Russia ready to cooperate with NATO

President Vladimir Putin criticized NATO’s steady expansion, something he suggested was pointless given the absence of a threat from Moscow following the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, and Communism as the major foe of the Alliance.

Addressing a meeting of Russian military leaders in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Putin said NATO expansion posed a threat to Russia, but added he hoped that a shared interest in common security would prevail.

Despite tensions, Moscow remained ready to cooperate with the military alliance.

Sentsov to receive Sakharov prize in Strasbourg

Ukrainian film director and human rights activist Oleg (43) will visit the European Parliament in Strasbourg on 26 November to receive in persona the 2018 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.

When Parliament’s Human rights prize was awarded last year, Sentsov was in prison in Russia serving 20 years, convicted of terrorism for setting fires to the doors of the offices of the ruling United Russia party in Crimea, and plotting to blow up a monument to Lenin. Sentsov became world famous due to 145 days hunger strike, which evoked a lot of sympathies, and reactions among public, supporting an international campaign for his release.

After serving five years he became one of thirty-five Ukrainian citizens released by Russia in exchange for Ukraine freeing an equal number of Russians.

EU-OSCE against Russia «foreign agent» law

“The State Duma of the Russian Federation this week passed, in the third and final reading, a legislative act widening the scope of the already existing “foreign agent” media law, under which also individuals may be recognised as “foreign agents” says the statement of the European External Action Service spokesperson.

“The European Union has repeatedly said that the existing Russian legislation on labelling both NGOs and media outlets as “foreign agents” imposes additional administrative and financial burden as well as stigmatises the media or NGO concerned, thus restricting the exercise of fundamental freedoms. This practice clearly goes against Russia’s human rights obligations and commitments.

“Taking into account the already limited space for free media in the country, a further extension of the scope of the legislation is yet another worrying step against free and independent media and access to information as well as further attempt to silence independent voices in Russia.

“We support the call by OSCE Representative for Freedom of the Media for Russian lawmakers to abandon the law”.

Image above: Moscow, Russia

Lavrov on sovereignty over S.Kuril

Japan should recognize Russia’s sovereignty over the Southern Kuril Islands to allow both countries conclude a peace treaty, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said to reporters on November 23.

Russian diplomat issued this comment as a reaction on a statement by Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, which clarifies that the Japanese government would continue negotiations with Russia on a peace treaty proceeding from its baseline position: first to settle the territorial problem and then to conclude a peace treaty.

With all the respect for the Chief Cabinet Secretary, we are nonetheless guided by the agreements that are reached at the highest level between the Russian president and the Japanese prime minister. They have agreed to move forward in discussing the problems that remain, proceeding from the 1956 declaration, which clearly states that first Russia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty over all our lands, including those territories, are recognized, thus recognizing the results of World War II, and then everything else will possibly be discussed,” Lavrov underlined.

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