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Russian Foreign Ministry calls ODIHR report on human rights in Ukraine “Russophobic”

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The interim report of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) “On Alleged Violations of International Humanitarian Law and International Human Rights Law in Ukraine” once again proved that Western institutions are sliding onto “Russophobic rails,” the Russian Foreign Ministry commented.

“There were no surprises. The ODIHR and its Director Matteo Mecacci once again confirmed not only their unwillingness to approach the assessment of existing realities objectively, but also their lack of understanding of the essence of their powers,” says Maria Zakharova, official representative of the Office, in a comment.

She noted that the OSCE report is a “compilation of excerpts from reports” of UN structures, the content of which the Russian Foreign Ministry has already commented on earlier, and the interviews with unnamed “witnesses of the events” given in the report do not stand up to criticism, moreover, some of them are more like word of mouth radio” with retellings of some stories on behalf of second and third parties.

Zakharova recalled that such information, which was announced by the ODIHR, should be obtained first-hand, which becomes an insurmountable difficulty for Western researchers on certain issues, as evidenced by numerous references to news reports from such news agencies and media as CNN, BBC, Associated Press and the Guardian, she said.

Zakharova emphasized the Bureau’s “playing along” with Ukrainian nationalists and neo-Nazis, since the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), recognized by the Nuremberg Tribunal as criminal, is called the “Ukrainian Patriotic Army” in the report.

“Against this background, the concern expressed in the report about the possible recognition by the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation of the Azov Battalion as a terrorist organization, which will deprive its members of the status of combatants, is not surprising. <...> we have to state with growing disappointment that the leadership of the ODIHR, despite its mandate, is slipping more and more rapidly onto the Russophobic tracks, discrediting not only the OSCE executive structure itself, but the Organization as a whole,” the diplomat concluded.

In response to the actions of the OSCE in early July, Russia announced that it would not recognize decisions taken at the Parliamentary Assembly (PA) of the OSCE without the participation of the Russian side. This was stated by the head of the Russian delegation, Pyotr Tolstoy, he noted that the decisions of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly for Russia are illegitimate.

In June, Great Britain refused visas for the Russian delegation to participate in the regular session of the assembly, Vladimir Dzhabarov, First Deputy Chairman of the Federation Council Committee on International Affairs, said. The senator spoke out against leaving the OSCE PA. According to him, participation in the work of the assembly provides an opportunity to promote the views and approaches of the Russian Federation. In addition, he pointed out that the decisions of the OSCE PA in the absence of the Russian Federation cannot be considered legitimate.

The British Embassy in Moscow explained that the visas of the Russian delegation were not issued allegedly due to the fact that all representatives of Russia are under sanctions and cannot enter the territory of the United Kingdom.

On May 19, Federation Council speaker Valentina Matviyenko told Izvestia that Britain had refused to issue visas to Russian deputies who were supposed to take part in the OSCE PA. This situation, in her opinion, demonstrates the violation of international rights, which are now occurring more and more often.

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