24 Sep: Russia: High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell met with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov

(Source: EEAS)

High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell met with the Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation Sergey Lavrov, in the margins of the 76th session of the UN General Assembly on Thursday. They discussed EU-Russia relations as well as pressing international issues.

High Representative Borrell addressed some of the challenges in EU-Russia relations, the objective being to aim at a more stable and predictable relationship. Disagreements persist, in particular in regards to Russia’s violations of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, in the area of democracy and human rights, as well as with regard to cyber, disinformation and other hybrid threats.

The discussion focused on international issues where the EU and Russia should continue to cooperate, with …

20 Sep: Russia: Declaration by the High Representative on behalf of the European Union on the State Duma, regional and local elections

(Source: Council of the EU)

The State Duma, regional and local elections in the Russian Federation took place on 17-19 September. The European Union regrets that Russia’s decision to severely restrict the size and format of an international OSCE/ODIHR Election Observation Mission prevented its deployment.

The EU takes note of independent and reliable sources reporting serious violations.

In the run-up to the elections, there was an increased crackdown on opposition politicians, civil society organisations and independent media outlets, as well as journalists. This resulted in the limitation of the choice for Russian voters and their ability to get full and …

20 Sep: EU unlikely to congratulate United Russia.

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Editor’s Blog: Produced in collaboration with the EU Buzz team. 

The United Russia party, the ruling political party supporting President Vladimir Putin, has swept to victory in the latest elections. The Central Election Commission declared on 20 September 2021, that United Russia had won almost 50% of the votes. In second place was the Communist Party, with less than 20%, and the newcomer, “New People” party, may be entering the parliament with just over 5% of the votes. Whilst these results show a small decline …

15 Sep: Russia: Speech by the High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell at the EP Plenary

(Source: EEAS)

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Mr President, Honourable Members of the European Parliament,

Allow me to congratulate the Rapporteur Andrius Kubilius and all the Members who have been working on this draft report, adopted with a large support in the Foreign Affairs Committee. I think that the report describes accurately where we stand in our relations with Russia, that are more difficult than ever. Building on the Joint Communication and the June conclusions of the European Council, although the debate in the European Council was mostly about “Summit yes” or “Summit no” in our relationship with Russia.

I think that …

20 Aug: Russia: Statement by the Spokesperson on the anniversary of Alexey Navalny’s poisoning

(Source: EEAS)

One year on from Alexey Navalny’s poisoning on 20 August 2020, the EU continues to call on the Russian Federation to investigate this assassination attempt in full transparency and without further delay, and to fully cooperate with the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to ensure an impartial international investigation. The use of chemical weapons under any circumstances is completely unacceptable and in breach of international law. Alexei Navalny’s case must not go unresolved. Those responsible must be brought to justice.

The European Union has condemned in the strongest possible terms the attempt to assassinate Mr …

22 Jul: Russia: Statement by the Spokesperson on the continued crackdown on independent media outlets, journalists and civil society

(Source: EEAS)

Russian authorities recently announced a number of new decisions targeting independent media outlets, journalists and civil society organisations.

The Institute of Law and Public Policy (ILPP) and a number of journalists were designated as so-called “foreign agents”, and the media outlet Project Media, Inc. was declared a so-called “undesirable organisation”. In addition, the association of lawyers and journalists Team 29 (Komanda 29), defending human rights and fundamental freedoms in Russia, decided to cease its activities following pressure and unjustified accusations by the Russian authorities.

The cumulative impact of these latest developments, in conjunction with a raft of repressive measures targeting highly respected NGOs and …

14 Jul: Russia: Statement by the Spokesperson on the sentencing of human rights defender Semyon Simonov

(Source: EEAS)

A Russian court in Sochi sentenced the head of the Southern Human Rights Centre and a prominent human rights defender Semyon Simonov to community service, for alleged violations of the law on so-called “foreign agents” on Monday.

This decision is yet another unacceptable use of the law on “foreign agents”, to pressure activists and human rights defenders. The EU calls on the Russian authorities to stop Mr. Simonov’s prosecution immediately.

The “foreign agent” law contributes to a systematic infringement of fundamental freedoms, restricting the space for civil society, independent media and the rights of political opposition in Russia …

12 Jul: Russia: EU prolongs economic sanctions over the destabilisation of Ukraine by six months

(Source: Council of the EU)

The Council today decided to prolong the sanctions targeting specific economic sectors of the Russian Federation for a further six months, until 31 January 2022.

The Council decision follows the latest assessment of the state of implementation of the Minsk agreements – initially foreseen to happen by 31 December 2015 – at the European Council of 24-25 June 2021. On that occasion EU leaders called on Russia to fully assume its responsibility in ensuring the full implementation of the Minsk agreements as the key condition for any substantial change in the EU’s stance. In light of …

01 Jul: Russia: Statement by the Spokesperson on continued crackdown on the civil society

(Source: EEAS)

Recent decisions taken by the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office to list several non-governmental organisations, including the Prague-based Společnost Svobody Informace (Freedom of Information Society) as “undesirable organisations” is the latest confirmation of the Russian authorities’ disregard for a vibrant and independent civil society.

None of the activities of these NGOs justify such measures. The European Union has repeatedly condemned the Russian legislation on “undesirable organisations” and “foreign agents”. Both laws go against Russia’s international obligations and human rights commitments and have a negative impact on the work of civil society in Russia.

We fully support the key role played by …

10 Jun: Human rights breaches at the Spanish/Moroccan border, in Russia, and in Sri Lanka

(Source: European Parliament)

Morocco must end the use of unaccompanied minors to pressure SpainRussia must release Andrei Pivovarov and halt reprisals against political opponentsSri Lanka must repeal controversial Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA)

On Thursday, Parliament adopted three resolutions on the human rights situation at the Spanish/Moroccan border, in Russia, and in Sri Lanka.

The breach of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the use of minors by the Moroccan authorities in the migratory crisis in Ceuta

Parliament rejects Morocco’s use of border control and migration, and unaccompanied minors in particular, as political pressure against Spain. …