Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry: Russia inadequately responds to Zatulin and Alexey II

The Foreign Ministry of Ukraine assesses as "inadequate" the response of the Russian Foreign Ministry to a ban on Russian lawmaker Zatulin entering Ukraine and the recent celebration of the Kyiv Rus Orthodox Baptism anniversary, reported Unian.

According to the MFA press-service, Ukraine Foreign Ministry's spokesman Vassyl Kyrylych voiced a comment today on the information for mass media spread by the Department for Information and Press of the Russian Federation Foreign Ministry on July 25, 2008.

"The Foreign Ministry of Ukraine is concerned about the information for mass media, publicized by the Information and Press Department of the Russian Federation Foreign Ministry on July 25, 2008. It included assessments of recent developments in Ukraine. In our opinion, the mentioned-above assessments do not correspond to reality, are too politicized, and too far from objectivity", V.Kyrylych said.

The MFA spokesman expressed anxiety that "without unnecessary diplomatic delicacy, the Russian side provided assessment of developments that are universally recognized as internal political issues".

"Even more significant is the undisguised intent of the Russian side to connect these events, in particular, the response of the Ukrainian side, and the current state and perspectives of development of the Ukrainian-Russian relations, having put in advance all the responsibility for "fatal consequences" on Ukraine. If, speaking about "fatal consequences", the Russian side means the recent hooligan actions committed by the Eurasian Union of Youth, we urgently call on the Russian side to immediately take all measures to stop provocations against the Ukrainian diplomatic institution in Moscow", he stressed.

According to V.Kyrylych, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry assesses the response of the Russian side to the entry ban on Russian Federation citizen K.Zatulin as inadequate. "In this connection, we point out that the K.Zatulin had been banned entry to Ukraine for one year, with decision of competent state power bodies of Ukraine, and basing on part 2 article 25 of the Law of Ukraine "On Legal Status of Foreigners and Persons Without Citizenship", the spokesman emphasized.

According to him, groundless accusation of the Russian side of as if "disrespectful attitude" to clergy of the Orthodox Church of the Russian Patriarchy during their taking part in the celebration of the 1020th anniversary of the Kyiv Rus Orthodox Baptism stir up even more anxiety and disapproval. "We are surprised that, in a secular state, a foreign policy department assesses the program of Russian Orthodox clergy's participation in the mentioned-above actions, which was agreed with them in advance. The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry decisively rejects the assessments publicized by the Russian side. We are confident that the mentioned-above developments at the Ukrainian territory absolutely correspond to the national legislation, and must not influence negatively the high level of the Ukrainian-Russian collaboration", V.Kyrylych stressed.

As UNIAN reported earlier, on July 25, 2008, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the refusal to allow Zatulin onto Ukrainian territory was "a flagrant manifestation of an unfriendly attitude toward a prominent public figure and member of the Russian parliament."

Zatulin, along with outspoken fellow MP, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, was earlier listed as a persona non grata by Ukrainian authorities after his involvement in 2006 protests in the Crimea against joint NATO-Ukraine Sea Breeze military exercises in the Black Sea. He also called the presence of U.S. troops in Crimea "illegal under Ukrainian law."

According to media reports, July 24, the first deputy head of the Russia Duma committee for CIS Kostyantyn Zatulin was detained in Symferopol by the Ukrainian security service and banned entry in Ukraine. On his arrival, Zatulin was met in the airport by SBU officials who showed him a document banning his entry in Ukraine. On the same day, Zatulin left for Moscow.

Russia has been angered by attempts to sideline the Russian Church in the ongoing celebrations in Ukraine, and the removal of posters depicting Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Alexy II, who will be arriving in Kyiv later on Saturday, according to RIA Novosti. On Friday, the Russian Foreign Ministry summoned the Ukrainian ambassador to protest against the "lack of respect" being shown in Ukraine to the Russian Church and its millions of believers.

Kyiv Patriarchy officials have recently stepped up contacts with the Church of Constantinople, also known as the Ecumenical Patriarchate, seeking "to return Ukraine to the Mother Church." The drive has been actively backed by President Yushchenko and the country`s other top officials against a backdrop of tensions in relations with Russia.

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