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Moscow views Kiev’s confrontation policy unchanged during Zelensky’s first year in office

According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, attempts continue to distort common history, glorify Nazism and desecrate memorials to Soviet soldiers in Ukraine
Ukrainian president Vladimir Zelensky Pyotr Sivkov/TASS
Ukrainian president Vladimir Zelensky
© Pyotr Sivkov/TASS

MOSCOW, May 20. /TASS/. Kiev’s line towards confrontation and whipping up tensions with Moscow remains unchanged, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday on occasion of Vladimir Zelensky’s first year of presidency.

"Kiev’s line towards confrontation and whipping up tensions in relations with Russia has been unchanged," the ministry said. "Ukraine keeps fighting against everything that somehow connects our nations. They continue attacks on the Russian language and culture, distort common history, glorify Nazism and desecrate memorials to Soviet soldiers."

The Ministry added that Ukraine keeps slapping new sanctions on the Russian citizens and legal entities, adding that "the intent to punish Russia reaches absurd levels."

"One year ago, Zelensky made fun of Poroshenko’s restrictions against Russian social media, and today he extended them himself. As for sanctions, he surpassed his predecessor on creativity," the Ministry said, recalling that Ukraine had imposed sanctions against the Hermitage Museum, the Pushkin Museum, Moscow State University and other educational and scientific facilities.

"It is regrettable, but today Russophobia in Ukraine gains second wind, and becomes, just like during the Poroshenko period, a national policy. One year ago, this course was rejected by the majority of the country’s population, which paved Zelensky’s way to power. It is regrettable that, with time, the government changes the attitude of the servants of the people to the interests of the people that elects them," the Ministry noted.


The Donbass peace process did not advance during Vladimir Zelensky’s first year of presidency, the Russian Foreign Ministry stated.

"At his inauguration, Zelensky proclaimed ceasefire in Donbass his number one goal. He claimed that he is 'not afraid to make difficult decisions’ and is 'ready to lose his office without a second thought, if only this leads to peace’," the Foreign Ministry recapped. "No cardinal changes happened since then."

The Ministry added that, although the first steps of the Ukrainian leader inspired hope, "apparently, Zelensky needed them only to call the Normandy format Paris summit."

"The events that followed displayed the lack of political will in the current administration to implement the Minsk agreements," the Ministry said. "Today, Kiev speaks about their ‘nullity’, about search for alternatives to the Minsk accords and about some ‘Plan B’. Zelensky’s office seems in no rush to implement the agreements of the Paris summit either."

Unfulfilled promises

The Ministry recalled that, during his ascension to power, Zelensky promised to free Ukrainians from the legacy of the previous president Pyotr Poroshenko, to begin real reforms, bring peace to Donbass and change the life for the better. He would also elaborate on the necessity to overcome a rift in society, "to learn to live together, despite the differences," the Ministry noted.

"However, the previous year showed that those were all mere declarations of good will. According to what has become a tradition in Kiev, the statements of the new president were at variance with his actions," the Foreign Ministry said.

Corruption did not recede, neither did oligarchy’s sway on the government; still pending are promises to investigate financial machinations and embezzlement of Poroshenko and his surrounding team, the 2013-2014 Maidan events, political assassinations and other crimes of the previous regime, the Ministry added.

Economic problems are accumulating, social tensions grow. Against the will of the vast majority of the Ukrainian population, the land reform goes on and human rights and freedoms have been violated en masse, the Ministry commented, adding that the clean-up of the information sphere and suppression of dissidence has been ongoing, which the bill on the media that the Verkhovna Rada passed in the first reading focuses on.

The Russian Foreign Ministry noted that the incumbent president "inherited a panic fear of the aggressive minority of national radicals, that feels like the owner of the country and dictates to the government what and how should be done."