The Russian Foreign Ministry said that it was surprised to get acquainted with the position of the head of European diplomacy, Josep Borrell, published by him upon his return from Moscow to Brussels. Representatives of the ministry indicated that his opinion contrasts with what was announced during a joint press conference with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
“We were surprised to get acquainted with Borrell’s assessments of the results of the visit, they contrast strongly with his statements made at a press conference in Moscow,” the Russian Foreign Ministry reported to TASS. According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, Mr. Borrell could have given his own assessment of the visit during a joint press conference, since “no one limited him in time or format”.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said that Mr. Borrell, upon his return to Europe, could have been told “how it was necessary to place the accents.” “But then this only confirms how and by whom the EU policy is actually formed,” the department said, without making any specific statements.
Josep Borrell was in Moscow from 4 to 6 February. Following a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, he said that he had called on the Russian side to release politician Alexei Navalny. At the same time, during a business trip, Mr. Borrell expressed the hope that the Russian Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine would be certified in the EU.
Upon his return to Brussels, Mr. Borrell wrote a blog post with his impressions of his visit to Moscow. In particular, he allowed discussion with the foreign ministers of the EU countries of possible sanctions over the case of Alexei Navalny. He admitted that in the event of sanctions, a mechanism for approving restrictions for human rights violations could be applied. This mechanism, which the media has compared to the US Magnitsky Act, allows sanctions to be imposed regardless of where the rights were violated.