Russia slams criticism from Euro MPs as 'lies'

14th March 2015, Comments 0 comments

Russia on Saturday lashed out at European lawmakers for their criticism over the murder of a top opposition activist, saying it was harming efforts to normalise ties between Moscow and the EU.

The European parliament on Thursday passed a resolution accusing President Vladimir Putin of creating "fertile ground" for crimes such as the brazen assassination of Boris Nemtsov two weeks ago.

The body also called for an independent international probe into the murder and criticised Russia's failure to cooperate with a probe into the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over conflict-torn eastern Ukraine, where pro-Moscow rebels are fighting Kiev's Western-leaning government.

Russian foreign ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said in a statement that the resolution was "a hodgepodge of lies and clear misinterpretations. Only a sick mind could see connections among the separate plots suggested in Strasbourg."

He said speculation about Nemtsov's death was "the height of cynicism".

Lukashevich added that the resolution "directly harms efforts to normalise the situation in Europe."

The parliament based in the northern French city urged Russia to stop "all pressure, repressive acts and intimidation" against opposition leaders, civil society and media.

The comments came after Nemtsov was gunned down in central Moscow, sending shivers through an opposition which complains of a steady crackdown of dissent by the Kremlin.

Russia is moving in a direction "contrary to a functioning democracy", said MEPs who also called on the Kremlin to free political prisoners such as Ukrainian pilot and lawmaker Nadiya Savchenko.

Ties between Moscow and Europe have plunged to lows not seen since the Cold War as the West accuses Russia of arming and backing separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine. The Kremlin denies this.

The rebels are accused of having downed the MH17 plane in a disaster which left 298 people dead but Moscow points the finger at Kiev.

"We advise European parliamentarians to use their energy on the countries that are essentially impeding the investigation and get them to provide all material needed to construct a picture of what happened," said Lukashevich.

© 2015 AFP

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