By turning blind eye to undemocratic arrest of opposition, West guilty of ‘double standards’ in Ukraine, top Russian UN envoy says

One of Moscow’s top diplomats has slammed the near-total silence from Western nations as Ukraine moved to arrest two prominent opposition politicians on high treason charges, speaking as part of an exclusive interview with RT.

Dmitry Polyanskiy, who serves as the first deputy representative in Russia’s Permanent Mission to the UN, said the decision of the Ukrainian prosecutor general to target Viktor Medvedchuk and Taras Kozak was “a logical step” for the country’s government in cracking down on dissent.

Medvedchuk, the leader of the largest non-government faction in Kiev’s parliament, has been placed under house arrest while officials prepare a case against him for both treason and the attempted theft of “national resources in Ukrainian Crimea [sic].” His party, Opposition Platform — For Life, draws much of its support from the Russian-speaking population in the east and south of the country, and has pushed for better relations with Moscow.

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According to Polyanskiy, the moves have “nothing to do with democracy, of course. There is no democracy in Ukraine. It is only a beautiful picture which is being promoted by our Western colleagues.” Medvedchuk’s arrest, he said, “is the best confirmation of this.”

The envoy added that the charges against the opposition leader came after Kiev ordered the closure of a number of Russian-language media outlets and news sites producing content from within the country and owned by Kozak. “They have first tried to shut the opposition mouthpieces, the TV channels,” he said. “They have also launched an assault against the Russian language in this country.” The crackdown, he claimed, is because “authorities in Kiev are very worried by the fact the opposition is gaining ground.”

“This happens again under the nose of our Western colleagues... they have yet to say a word on this,” Polyanskiy declared. “I would be very surprised if there were any reaction to this [from them] other than saying Mr Medvedchuk’s party is a part of Russian influence – ‘malign influence,’ as they like to say – and they support the activities of Ukraine. This is not double but rather triple standards... but it is very deplorable and it does nothing good for the country.”

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FILE PHOTO. Ukrainian politician Viktor Medvedchuk (R) in Minsk, Belarus. © Reuters / Vasily Fedosenko
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Announcing the charges against Medvedchuk on Facebook earlier this week, Prosecutor General Irina Venediktova told her followers that they could conclude from the decision to prosecute that “you cannot consider Crimea to be part of another state.” It is understood that the allegations relate to claims Medvedchuk was involved with an energy firm extracting gas in the waters off the peninsula that re-registered as a Russian company in 2014 in order to keep the fuel flowing. However, officials have yet to present the evidence linking Medvedchuk to wrongdoing in the case.

Polyanskiy spoke to RT as part of a wide-ranging interview about Covid-diplomacy, ties with the new administration in the White House, and Russia’s role on the world stage, due to be published in the coming days on

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