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Russia urges Ukraine to lambast attack on Russian cultural center in Kiev - diplomat

Radical nationalism had been raised to a level of national politics in Ukraine, Lukashevich said

VIENNA, February 17. /TASS/. Russia demands from Ukraine that an official statement condemning the attack by radical activists on the Russian Center for Science and Culture in Kiev should follow, Russia’s Permanent Representative to the OSCE Alexander Lukashevich said on Saturday, following nationalists’ assault on the Russian Center for Science and Culture in the Ukrainian capital.

"We insist Ukraine’s government should officially condemn radicals’ actions. Connivance to rampant nationalism has gone way overboard," Lukashevich said in a commentary received by TASS.

"The next week the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly is kicking off. We are hoping that the lawmakers will have their say on the issue. Moreover, their fellow worker - Andrey Lozovoi, a Verkhovna Rada deputy of the Radical Party - led the riot."

The Russian diplomat underlined that radical nationalism had been raised to a level of national politics.

"In conditions of acute domestic antagonism, political turbulence and social discontent, the Kiev authorities are actively propagating an image of an adversary personified as Russia," Lukashevich said.

"Offences against Russian property and Russian citizens in Ukraine are encouraged. At the legislative level, the authorities encourage persecution of the Canonical Orthodox Church, the Russian language and culture. The freedom of expression is clamped down on. Attacks on the media, journalists and bloggers is, unfortunately, a matter of fact."

"Until radical nationalist are rampaging in Ukraine, there will be no peace in that country. We insist that manifestations of xenophobia, nationalism and extremism in Ukraine be considered in detail at OSCE," the Russian envoy said.

Earlier on Saturday, about 30 members of the S14 (Sich) nationalist group attacked the Russian Center for Science and Culture in Kiev. The center’s spokesperson told TASS that the Right Sector group (banned in Russia) joined the Sich nationalists in the attack. The nationalists posted information about their action on Facebook. The video footage shows how they are splashing black and red paint on the walls and writing insulting slogans and words. They also torn down and desecrated the Russian flag.

The attack on the Russian center was not the first. In August 2016, nationalists hurled smoke grenades into the building and spray-painted graffiti with their symbols on its walls. In July 2017, about 30 members of Svoboda movement headed by a member of the Kiev Council Igor Miroshnichenko stormed the center's building and occupied the second floor to disrupt the presentation of a book on Russian history.