Russia Criticises Croatia for Its Relations with Ukraine Again

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The recent meeting between the Croatian and Ukrainian Prime Ministers has been met with criticism from Moscow.

Russia renewed its criticism of Croatia’s interference in the Ukrainian crisis and its offer to help Ukraine in the reintegration of occupied areas. It urged Croatia to support peace efforts within the framework of the Minsk Agreement. “We have taken note of statements made following recent talks in Zagreb between the Prime Ministers of Croatia and Ukraine regarding plans to ramp up the activity of the Croatian government’s working group on cooperation with Ukraine. Established in October 2016, one of its tasks was to share Croatia’s experience in the ‘peaceful reintegration of occupied territories’ that is supposedly applicable to Donetsk and Lugansk,” says the Russian statement, reports Telegram on June 18, 2017.

“Again, we’d like to point out that these counterproductive and inappropriate moves cannot help settle the internal Ukrainian conflict. We hope that our Croatian partners will redirect their efforts towards encouraging Kiev to strictly and consistently comply with its commitments under the Minsk Package of Measures, which has been approved by the Normandy format countries. Regrettably, the authorities in Zagreb have preferred to promote their homespun parallel structures instead of advocating a more active dialogue within the Trilateral Contact Group. Their lopsided interpretation of the most dramatic pages in the history of the Balkan crisis of the first half of the 1990s is playing into the hands of Kiev’s party of war, whereas they should have clearly expressed their commitment to searching for a path to reconciliation and peaceful coexistence. Zagreb has not abandoned its intention to build up military and technical cooperation with Ukraine instead of demanding outright that Kiev stop shelling Donbass, lift the transport and socioeconomic blockade of the region and cancel restrictions on people’s access to information,” says the Russian Foreign Ministry.

“We hope that there will be no place for double standards in the international efforts to bring about lasting stability to Ukraine. Only an honest, open and coordinated approach to developments offers a real chance for peace, security and normal life to the millions of people in south-east Ukraine,” concludes the statement.

Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković met with Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Groysman this week and discussed the crisis in Ukraine, where 10,000 people have died in the last three years. Plenković said at a joint press conference that Croatia was a victim of Serbian aggression in the 1990s, that the country once had occupied territories and endangered territorial integrity, but also, Croatia has the experience of peaceful reintegration and therefore “in the current situation which Ukraine is experiencing, with temporary occupied territories of Donetsk and Lugansk and the illegal annexation of the Crimea, Croatia wants to help Ukraine integrate them peacefully into its constitutional order.”

The Ukrainian Prime Minister said he was grateful to Plenković, the government and the Croatian people for their “principled support to Ukraine at the time when it is the victim of Russian aggression” and for the initiative for creating a working group for using the Croatian experience in the peaceful reintegration process. “With the support of the international community, Ukraine continues to fight for the respect for international law and for its territory,” he said.

Before becoming Prime Minister, Plenkovic was the head of the European Parliament’s delegation for relations with Ukraine, and explained that this was not his personal policy towards Ukraine. “This is the policy of the Croatian state, the policy behind which all Croatian institutions stand, and that is a principled, responsible, and the only possible policy. Whether it pleases someone or not, that is a different question. We are a country that is a member of the UN, the EU, NATO and we share some basic European values of the international order and respect for international law. That position will remain unchanged regardless of criticism,” he stressed.

“The issues such as the territorial integrity of Ukraine do not affect the establishment of relations with Russia. That is what all other responsible countries are doing,” he said, adding that Croatia and Ukraine were two very close and friendly countries.


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