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Tuesday, 9 February 2021 - Brussels Revised edition

Visit of the VPC/HR to Russia in the light of the recent crackdown on protestors and the opposition (debate)

  Kati Piri, on behalf of the S&D Group. – Madam President, what we witnessed in the case of Navalny is ‘Kafka: Year 2021’. After having failed to kill him, he had to be put away. Navalny is seen as a threat because he puts his finger on the sore spot. Russians have had enough of Putin’s kleptocracy, while ordinary people face economic hardships.

Moscow abused the visit of High Representative Borrell to humiliate and offend the European Union. It expelled three diplomats during his visit, and Lavrov called the EU an ‘unreliable partner’, while Russia is doing everything to divide us. But to put the blame on Borrell for this? Would it also have happened if the EU leaders had taken a tougher stance? But instead, the Council has so far failed to put any meaningful sanctions on Russia after the assassination attempt on Navalny. Orbán prevented the EU from issuing a joint statement. The Cypriot government has been issuing golden passports to Kremlin enablers for years. French President Macron just recently renewed his call for a dialogue with Moscow, and last Saturday Moscow resumed work on Nord Stream 2, with the support of German Chancellor Merkel.

Colleagues, what we need is a united strategy on Russia, not an appeasement, in view of the challenges Russia is posing to our security. This means that the Council will have to come with clear and tough sanctions against Putin and his enablers, and I believe Mr Borrell has drawn the same conclusions.

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