MOSCOW, February 22. /TASS/. Vice Speaker of Russia’s State Duma (lower house of parliament) and head of the Russian delegation to the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly (PA) has called on it to respond to extremists’ attack on the Russian Center for Science and Culture (representative office of the Federal Agency for the Commonwealth of Independent States, Compatriots Living Abroad, and International Humanitarian Cooperation, Rossotrudnichestvo) in Kiev and the infringement on the rights of Ukraine’s Russian-speaking population.
Speaking at a meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council in Vienna on Thursday, he recalled that Rossotrudnichestvo’s representative office in Kiev had been attacked three days ago. "Aggressive nationalist thugs raided the building and burnt the Russian flag in the presence of 50 children," he said.
"On the previous day, while in Munich, Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko called for the persecution of the Russian flag," the politician went on to say. "Two days ago he signed the law on the reintegration of the Donbass region, which effectively buries the Minsk agreements and puts the situation on a military track." "Now the settlement in the east of the country will be the purview of the Ukrainian army," Tolstoy added.
He also drew attention to the law on education passed in Ukraine, which contravenes the fundamental principles of international law and guarantees of receiving education in one’s mother tongue.
"The Russian parliament authorized me to draw attention to these issues due to the need for an urgent response from the OSCE to violations of the rights of 15 millions ethnic Russians living in Ukraine," Tolstoy stressed. He noted that Russia "cannot fail to respond to such human rights violations, which occur with the connivance of the nationalist government in today’s Ukraine."
"This situation sparks concern and indignation not only in Russia. Some countries neighboring Ukraine have expressed their concern and taken appropriate measures due to rampaging nationalism in that country," Tolstoy said. He stressed that the OSCE PA "cannot fail to react to nationalist and pro-Nazi slogans that can be heard in Ukraine, which has embarked on the so-called European path of development." "Now, if these are European values, we definitely cannot share them," he warned. "This is blatant disregard for international agreements and rules, so I urge you to pay close attention to this situation," he concluded.
The Russian delegation will continue to submit these issues for the MPs’ discussion, Tolstoy told reporters in Vienna. He stressed that the Russian MPs plan to hold a meeting with Chairman of the Assembly Georgy Tsereteli and OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities Lamberto Zannier during the winter session of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly in Vienna.
The State Duma and Chairman of the lower chamber Vyacheslav Volodin personally ordered Tolstoy to voice the Russian parliament’s position on the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly due to the recent events in Kiev.
The events in Ukraine
On February 17-18 Ukrainian nationalists pelted the Rossotrudnichestvo building in Kiev with stones and eggs and then tore off and burned the Russian flag.
On February 20, the Ukrainian president signed the law "On the aspects of the state policy on provision of Ukraine’s state sovereignty on the temporarily occupied territories in the Donetsk and Lugansk Regions." The law comes into effect from the moment of its signing.
The law names Russia an "aggressor state" and the areas of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions not controlled by Kiev "temporarily occupied territories," as well as vests the president with the right to use the armed forces within the country without the parliament’s consent, including to liberate the territories in the east of the country. For this purpose, the united operational headquarters of the Ukrainian Armed Forces is established in order to control all militants and military-civilian administrations in the conflict zone. In addition, any mentioning of the Minsk accords was removed from the text of the document after the introduction of the amendments.