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EU chief diplomat failed in his plan to ‘publicly flog’ Russia during last week’s trip to Moscow, says Foreign Ministry

EU chief diplomat failed in his plan to ‘publicly flog’ Russia during last week’s trip to Moscow, says Foreign Ministry
The European Union wanted to humiliate Russia during High Representative Josep Borrell's visit to Moscow last week, but the bloc’s plan spectacularly failed, according to Russia's Foreign Ministry.

“The task [of Borrell] was to carry out a public flogging, which, I think, they planned very carefully,” the ministry’s spokesperson Maria Zakharova told Vesti FM on Tuesday morning. “It was a cascade of topics: talks about rallies, talks about journalists, and making [Alexey] Navalny the main theme of the discussion.”

According to her, the European Union's plans fell flat because the Russian side wanted “to discuss real issues,” presenting a broad range of topics for discussion.

The visit of the EU’s high representative to Moscow took place last week, with Borrell meeting Sergey Lavrov, Russia's minister of foreign affairs. The European official has received a barrage of criticism in the days since, with Riho Terras, an Estonian MEP, calling the trip “humiliating.” In particular, Borrell has been attacked for standing silently by while Lavrov called the EU an “unreliable partner.” On the same day, Russia announced that it would be expelling three European diplomats over claims they took part in unauthorized rallies in support of jailed opposition figure Alexey Navalny.

Also on rt.com Russia expels diplomats from Germany, Poland and Sweden for alleged participation in pro-Navalny protests

Following his visit, Borrell published a blog in which he revealed his opinion that relations between Russia and the EU are becoming increasingly fraught.

“My meeting with Minister Lavrov highlighted that Europe and Russia are drifting apart. It seems that Russia is progressively disconnecting itself from Europe,” he wrote.

According to Zakharova, Borrell's statement “completely contradicts what he said in Moscow,” with the official completely changing his tune on the nature of the Russia-EU relationship. During his visit, Borrell's words on the partnership between Brussels and the Kremlin were mostly positive.

“It means that someone is dictating to the European Union how to behave toward Russia,” she said.

In response to the blog, a letter penned by Terras and signed by 73 MEPs asked European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to fire Borrell.

“Mr. Borrell's misjudgment in proactively deciding to visit Moscow, and his failure to stand for the interests and values of the European Union during his visit, have caused severe damage to the reputation of the EU,” the letter read. ”We believe that the President of the European Commission should take action, if Mr. Borrell does not resign by his own accord.”

Also on rt.com The ‘Liberal World Order’ is dead, but fallout from ill-fated visit of EU’s Borrell to Moscow proves much of West still in denial

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