Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Ex-Russian president says EU envoys should be ‘kicked out’

Ambassadors from the European Union member states must be expelled from Russia, former President Dmitry Medvedev has stated, citing their refusal to discuss "election meddling" with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

“Ambassadors of the EU states to Russia declined a meeting with the Russian minister of foreign affairs. Allegedly, following some advice from Brussels,” Medvedev wrote on X (formerly Twitter) on Monday.

“This goes totally against the very idea of [the] existence of diplomatic missions and assignments of ambassadors.”

“All these ambassadors should be kicked out of Russia, and the level of diplomatic relations should be demoted,” Medvedev, who is currently the deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council, wrote.

The slammed EU diplomats as “political imbeciles who do not comprehend their real tasks.”

Speaking at a youth event in Russia’s Black Sea town of Sirius on Monday, Lavrov said that Moscow had “invited” EU envoys for a meeting in order to warn them against “meddling” in the upcoming presidential elections. The authorities have gathered “a lot of materials” about foreign support for “the opposition” in Russia, the minister said without elaborating.

“I simply wanted to tell the ambassadors that we are recommending not to conduct such activities,” Lavrov stated, adding, “And you know what? Two days before the [planned] event, we received a [diplomatic] letter saying, ‘We have decided not to attend.’”

“Can you imagine diplomatic relations with countries whose ambassadors are afraid to attend a meeting with the minister of a country they are serving in?”

Russian business news agency RBK cited the EU mission in the country as confirming that the envoys had ignored the invitation.

“We were invited to discuss the relations between the EU and Russia, but now minister Lavrov is saying that he wanted to lecture us. This proves that we were right to decline the invitation,” the spokesperson said.

The EU mission also cited “the low level of trust” stemming from the disagreements over the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, as well as the recent death of jailed opposition activist and anti-corruption campaigner Alexey Navalny.

The relations between Russia and many Western countries have hit historic lows in recent years, due to the standoff over Ukraine and other grievances, including the arguments over security in Europe and the enlargement of NATO.

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