BRUSSELS, June 22. /TASS/. The European Union's new strategy for relations with Russia confining to three principles: "push back, constrain and engage", to be discussed at the EU's summit on June 24-25, has not become a breakthrough document and contains gross "factual blunders," Russia's envoy to the EU, Vladimir Chizhov, told TASS in an interview.
"This document is certainly not a breakthrough. It is a report authored by the European Commission and the Josep Borrell-led European External Action Service. It is addressed to the European Parliament, the EU Council and the European Council - the leaders of the EU' member-states. Its wording is not a surprise. It has been worked on for quite a long time," Chizhov stressed.
"The report's wording contains some gross blunders, including factual ones. For instance, it argues that direct contacts between Kiev and the self-proclaimed Donbass republics contradict the Minsk protocol. They should certainly 'read up for the exam', because such contacts are precisely one of the fundamental features of the Minsk Accords," Chizhov said.
"Also, I was surprised to see references to humanitarian aid, which the EU allegedly provides via the Red Cross to some 'Ukrainian refugees' in Russia. It looks like they think that there are some camps of Ukrainian refugees in Russia, where the Red Cross reportedly delivers humanitarian aid from the EU, although we know nothing about the former or the latter. But the money must be going somewhere," he added.
Chizhov said that the report would now be discussed by the European Parliament, "and there is a possibility another resolution on Russia may be passed, or not." As far as the EU's executive bodies are concerned, after the EU Foreign Affairs Council studied the report on June 21 "this paper will go before the EU summit on June 24-25. "As far as we know, no special discussions are expected in the EU executive bodies - they will rubberstamp it as it is," Chizhov concluded.
Like in NATO
The EU's top diplomat Josep Borell presented the EU's new strategy for Russia on June 16, the next day after the EU-US summit in Brussels, where US President Joe Biden and the chiefs of EU institutions made a decision to coordinate Brussels' and Washington's policies towards Russia. The concept of this document - push back, constrain and engage - is very similar to NATO's dual approach to Russia, which the alliance has adhered to since 2014 - it boils down to "dialogue and deterrence" and in practice has resulted in the total curtailment of cooperation with Russia.
As follows from Borrell's explanations, "push back" means resistance to violations of Ukraine's sovereignty, hybrid and other challenges and human rights violations for which Russia is allegedly responsible. Brussels is going to "constrain" Russia's influence on the European Union and its role on the international scene and popularity in the West and around the world.
Also, Borrell suggests engaging or cooperating with Russia there where progress without Russia is impossible. He referred to climate change, struggle against the coronavirus pandemic, the Arctic, and other regional cooperation matters, as well as the settlement of global and regional conflicts. Once again, the EU called for stepping up people-to-people contacts by easing visa rules, but only for certain groups of citizens, such as young scientists and skilled specialists.