Foreign Ministry statement on the EU’s new illegal restrictive measures against Russia

We are disappointed by the February 22 decision of the EU Foreign Affairs Council to impose new illegal, unilateral and unsubstantiated restrictive measures on Russian citizens. The European Union has missed an opportunity to rethink its policy of artificial linkages, sanctions and pressure in its relations with Russia, a policy that has proved to be completely ineffective over the past few years. Instead, guided by its bloc discipline and anti-Russia stereotypes, Brussels has instinctively pressed the ineffective sanctions button. Moreover, contrary to all logic, the EU first adopted a political decision, and plans to choose the candidates for the sanctions later on.

This new faulty decision of the EU Council has been adopted amid an unprecedented anti-Russia information campaign ongoing in the EU following the talks which High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell held in Moscow on February 5. Western media outlets unanimously denounced the talks as “worthless” and “humiliating” and called for increasing the sanctions pressure on Russia. That information offensive was obviously designed to find a pretext to convince the EU foreign ministers about the need to settle the score and make up for the alleged loss of diplomatic face by the EU by aggravating relations with Russia still further.

The above shows once again that the opponents of improving relations with Russia are guided by political considerations rather than their declared commitment to human rights and fundamental freedoms. It is notable that EU Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime established by the EU Council in December 2020, just as the two previous mechanisms of sanctions against cyberattacks and chemical weapons, will be used first of all against Russians. Brussel’s attempts to present these illegal tools as “horizontal” and “global” cannot conceal the anti-Russia essence of these instruments of their Russia containment policy.

We regard as categorically unacceptable the continued illegal and absurd demands to “free” a Russian citizen who has been found guilty of committing economic crimes in Russia in accordance with the Russian legislation.

In international practice this in described as interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign state. However, the EU obviously does not intend to respect the ethics of interstate relations and is using the myth of its own infallibility in the sphere of human rights, which has been laid bare by the daily footage of police violence in many European cities and the ongoing offensive against the freedom of the media and the Russian language, to promote its concept of a rules-based world order.

It is regrettable that illegal instruments, such as ultimatums, pressure and sanctions, are becoming the basis of the EU foreign policy inventory. The EU, which would like to become an independent pole on the global stage, has apparently forgotten that this position can only be attained through respect for partners, non-interference in the internal affairs of others and undeviating commitment to international law.