Russia urges OSCE to condemn 'neo-fascist' sentiment in west Ukraine

MOSCOW Wed Feb 26, 2014 6:22am EST

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MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called on Europe's democracy watchdog, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, to condemn the rise of "nationalist and neo-fascist" sentiment in western Ukraine.

In a foreign ministry statement on Wednesday, Lavrov said the OSCE should condemn attempts by nationalists to ban the Russian language in Ukraine, the latest expression of anger from Moscow over a move by Kiev to restore Ukrainian as the obligatory national language in official documents.

The OSCE was not immediately available for comment.

The overthrow at the weekend of President Viktor Yanukovich has revived fears that the former Soviet state of 46 million might split along the faultline that divides its pro-Western and pro-Russian regions.

"Lavrov called on the OSCE to decisively condemn the rise of nationalist and neo-fascist sentiment in the west of the country," the ministry said in a statement.

Lavrov, who met OSCE Secretary General Lamberto Zannier on Tuesday, said the organisation should also condemn moves to ban the Russian language and to turn the "Russian-speaking population into 'non-citizens'".

Since Yanukovich was overthrown by protesters, Russia has become increasingly concerned by swift moves by Ukraine's parliament to assert its independence from Russia.

Moscow argues that moves to restore Ukrainian as the official language would penalize Russian-speakers in the east and the south and has characterized the protesters as "extremists" who have stolen power.

On Wednesday, the little-known International Assembly of Russian Compatriots, which lobbies for the Russian diaspora, said Ukrainian leaders who "constantly declare their commitment to European values" are "violating the basic norms of EU legislation".

(reporting by Katya Golubkova, writing by Elizabeth Piper, editing by Alissa de Carbonnel, John Stonestreet)

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Comments (2)
Tiu wrote:
Catherine Ashton, the EU foreign affairs minister, seems to prefer encouraging radical right-wingers, and jihadists.
What could possibly go wrong. Hasn’t Russia noticed that the IMF and ECB are now at the front of the queue?

Feb 26, 2014 7:38am EST  --  Report as abuse
haberstr wrote:
The following is wrong: “moves to restore Ukrainian as the official language …” The revoked law fully recognized that Ukrainian is the only national language of Ukraine. The revoked law simply would add a ‘regional language’ in places where more than 10% of the population were native speakers of a language other than Ukrainian. It was a great law in harmony with the multi-linguistic reality of Ukraine. It did no harm to the Ukrainian language and reassured Russian and other language speakers that, for example, their kids could be educated in their mother tongues in the public schools.

Feb 27, 2014 5:56am EST  --  Report as abuse
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