Comment by Russia’s Permanent Representative to the OSCE Alexander Lukashevich on the attack on the Federal Agency for the CIS Affairs, Compatriots Living Abroad and International Humanitarian Cooperation office in Kiev

Saturday, 17 February 2018 11:47

We are outraged by nationalists’ continuous violence in Ukraine. On February 17, representatives of the S14 (Sich) Ukrainian nationalist organisation attacked the Kiev office of the Federal Agency for the CIS Affairs, Compatriots Living Abroad and International Humanitarian Cooperation (Rossotrudnichestvo). Thirty radicals led by Verkhovna Rada deputy from the Radical Party Andrey Lozovoy broke into the building while there were 50 children and 50 adults inside. The fascist rioters destroyed an exhibition dedicated to singer Fyodor Shalyapin, painted walls with extremist slogans, insulted Russian diplomats and desecrated a Russian national flag. Apparently, Ukrainian President Petr Poroshenko’s provocative statements at the Munich Security Conference regarding a ban on the Russian flag served as a signal to the radicals. As the police sat on their hands, the violence continued for more than half an hour. The criminals were not afraid of justice and did not hide their faces. Later, they posted photos from the debacle on Facebook.

Today’s crime is far from the first attack by radicals. In January, nationalists threw paint at Rossotrudnichestvo’s building, posted anti-Russian leaflets at the site, passed a chain around its gate and locked it. More attacks took place in August 2016 and April 2017. We clearly remember the incidents at the Russian Embassy in Kiev and other Russian foreign affairs agencies. We have information that tomorrow, on February 18, another neo-Nazi group, the Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists, is going to set the federal agency’s building on fire. It is unacceptable.

In the wake of this provocation and threats, we have appealed to the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission demanding a prompt response to the horrendous example of aggressive nationalism and the issue of an urgent report on the event so that all OSCE members know about the barbaric act. It is also important to prevent any possible further attacks on the Russian Science and Culture Centre.

We hope that the Western countries who are turning a blind eye to the actions of the Kiev officials will be reasonable enough to give an appropriate evaluation of this incident. Encouraging primitive nationalism is extremely dangerous. The Kiev officials themselves did not want to do anything. The police were quietly watching what was happening.

Every week within the OSCE, we point out to representatives of member states and executive bodies the danger to peace and stability posed by radical nationalists, not only in Ukraine but across Europe. It is time to do something. A collective reaction by the international community is necessary.

We expect that this time, competent OSCE institutions (the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights and the High Commissioner on National Minorities) will react to the nationalist debauchery and will not withdraw into the shadows as they often have in the past.

We demand official condemnation of the radicals’ activity by the Ukrainian leadership. Condonation of frantic nationalism has gone too far.

The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly is opening next week. We expect that the members of parliament will comment on the matter, especially because the act of vandalism was led by their colleague, Andrey Lozovoy, member of the Verkhovna Rada representing the Radical Party.

Radical nationalism in Ukraine has been elevated to state policy. Amidst acute intra-Ukrainian disagreements, political turbulence and social dissatisfaction, Kiev officials are imposing an image of Russia as an external enemy. Crimes against Russian property and Russian nationals in Ukraine are encouraged. The government is supporting persecution of the canonical Orthodox church, Russian language and culture. Freedom of speech is being restricted. Attacks on the media, journalists and bloggers have unfortunately become commonplace.

As long as radical nationalists are roistering in Ukraine, there will no peace in that country. We insist on an objective discussion of incidents of xenophobia, nationalism and extremism in Ukraine, by the OSCE.

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