Russia comments on UK attitude to human rights

Britain is more concerned about blaming Russia than protecting human rights.

British officials are not concerned about safeguarding civil liberties in Eastern Europe, but are looking to scapegoat Moscow for instability in the region, a top Russian diplomat at the UN has claimed.

According to the country’s first deputy permanent representative to the UN, Dmitry Polyanskiy, London turns a blind eye to human rights issues in the Baltic States and Ukraine, instead seeking to score political points against Russia.

Hitting back at Foreign Secretary Liz Truss on Wednesday, the envoy wrote that “someone must have misled you, Ms Minister … our event was not specifically on Ukraine but rather on human and minority rights violations" taking place on Russia’s borders.

According to the diplomat, her tweet shows that the “UK doesn’t care about human rights at all and can only keep calm and blame Russia.”

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In a Twitter statement on Wednesday, Truss wrote that the UK condemns Moscow’s alleged attempts to use the United Nations Security Council to “destabilize” Ukraine.

The official said that London, along with its closest partners at the UN, “opposes Russia’s misuse of ‘Arria formula’ meetings,” and blasted calls on Moscow to stop an alleged “disinformation campaign” against its neighbor.

The UK’s political coordinator at the UN, Fergus Eckersley, issued a statement criticizing the informal meeting organized by the Russian delegation on national minorities and the “glorification” of Nazism. “We have listened carefully to the other speakers today,” the message read. “We do not believe that they have been chosen to represent a balanced position of national minority communities in the region.”

Instead, “Russia appears to be using this meeting in a deliberate attempt to distort history for its own political purposes, and to use disinformation as a tool to destabilise its neighbours,” he claimed.

According to Eckersley, the UK is concerned that the forum could be used “as part of an effort to fabricate a pretext for military aggression against a sovereign nation,” referring to Ukraine.

The diplomatic spat between Moscow and London comes after Russia held an informal Security Council meeting with representatives of Ukrainian and Baltic states to discuss violations of national minorities’ rights in these countries. Polyanskiy claimed that Russia, as well as Belarus, “are being encircled by some kind of instability ring from the west and from the south.”

Last week, the UN General Assembly adopted a Russian-initiated resolution on “combating glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices” that contribute to racism, xenophobia, and intolerance with 130 votes in favor.

However, the only two nations against the notion were the US and Ukraine, while Baltic states Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia abstained.

Moscow has long voiced its grievances with a collective of former Soviet republics honoring individuals and organizations linked with Nazi Germany during World War II. Ahead of the same vote last year, Washington’s envoy to the UN said that the resolution clashes with America’s first amendment rights, and that the document is “notable for its thinly veiled attempts to legitimize longstanding Russian disinformation narratives denigrating neighboring nations under the cynical guise of halting Nazi glorification.”

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