Now it came to light why the European Union did not extend sanctions against Russia. Many countries refused to prolong the sanctions automatically.
Disgraced former minister Zijlstra stands accused of gross distortion of Russia’s foreign policy. Since the US and European-backed illegal coup in Ukraine in early 2014, geopolitical reality has been turned upside-down. American and European corporate media have peddled relentless anti-Russia propaganda accusing Moscow of “aggression” and “expansionism” in Europe. This torrent of Russophobia spewed out by Washington, the Pentagon, NATO and the European Union has created the worst crisis in relations with Russia since the Cold War ended nearly three decades ago. There are real fears that the mounting crisis could escalate into an all-out war involving nuclear powers.
Abominably, European government officials are willing to risk plunging millions of citizens into a war with Russia based on lies and warped, self-serving prejudices.
Accusations of Russophobia are typical for pro-Kremlin disinformation. euvsdisinfo.eu/disinformation-cases/?text=russophobia&disinfo_issue=&date=,
There is no NATO war agenda.
- There is in fact a clear record of strong cooperation between the EU and Russia, dating back to 1994, when the two sides negotiated a Partnership and Cooperation Agreement. Russia was identified as a strategic partner for the EU, and was the only country with which the EU held summits not once, but twice a year. A new EU-Russia agreement was being negotiated up until 2014, at which point talks were unfortunately suspended due to Russia's involvement in the Ukraine conflict. Negotiations were also in train on visa facilitation. There was also cooperation between the EU and Russia on a number of foreign policy issues, some of which continues to this day. The EU and its Member States have maintained a clear policy of reaching out to Russian society and youth, mainly through the Erasmus+ student exchange programme and other people to people contacts.
- NATO has consistently worked hard to build a cooperative relationship with Russia since the early 1990s, through the Partnership for Peace and creation of a NATO-Russia Council, and specific cooperation in the Western Balkans on and issues like counter-narcotics and counter-terrorism. In fact, as NATO points out, no other NATO partner has been offered a comparable relationship, nor a similarly comprehensive institutional framework: http://bit.ly/2e0TZnG.
- In 1997, Russia was invited to join the G7 group of major advanced economies in the world, thus forming the G8. (At the time, Russia ranked 14th to 17th in the list of countries according to GDP: http://bit.ly/2dWb51l; http://bit.ly/2ejhOpw; http://bit.ly/2dqu4jQ). In 2006, President Putin hosted the G8 summit in Saint Petersburg. Russia's membership of the G8 was suspended in 2014 because of its illegal annexation of Crimea.
- Russia joined the Council of Europe, the continent's leading human rights organisation, in 1996.
There was no coup in Ukraine four years ago. The demonstrations which began in Kyiv in November 2013 – called "Maidan", or "Euromaidan" – were not provoked from outside but were a result of the Ukrainian people's frustration with former President Yanukovych's last minute U-turn when, after seven years of negotiation, he refused to sign the EU–Ukraine Association Agreement and halted progress towards Ukraine's closer relationship with the EU as a result of Russian pressure. The protesters' demands included constitutional reform, a stronger role for parliament, formation of a government of national unity, an end to corruption, early presidential elections and an end to violence http://bit.ly/2ftv6iT.
As for Moscow's aggression: The Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court has stated that “the information available suggests that the situation within the territory of Crimea and Sevastopol amounts to an international armed conflict between Ukraine and the Russian Federation. This international armed conflict began at the latest on 26 February when the Russian Federation deployed members of its armed forces to gain control over parts of the Ukrainian territory without the consent of the Ukrainian Government https://www.icc-cpi.int/iccdocs/otp/161114-otp-rep-PE_ENG.pdf. See further debunking here.
For background about the Dutch minister: www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-02-13/dutch-foreign-minister-resigns-after-lying-about-russia-meeting,