664th Meeting of the Permanent CouncilMr Chairman,
The EU is deeply concerned about recent developments in the relationship between one of its Member States and the Russian Federation.
First and foremost, we are alarmed by the situation in front of the Estonian Embassy in Moscow. We condemn the physical attack committed against the Estonian Ambassador in Moscow yesterday as well as other attacks against diplomatic visitors to the Estonian Embassy in Moscow. This is unprecedented and demands immediate action. As pointed out during a meeting of the EU-Troika with Deputy Foreign Minister Gruschko, we urge the Russian Federation to fulfil its international obligations under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and expect her in particular to protect the personnel and premises of the mission, as well as to ensure unimpeded access to the mission.
Concerning the events in Estonia, the EU considers the relocation of the Tõnismäe grave marker (Bronze Soldier) and the transfer of the remains of soldiers buried on Tõnismäe to a war cemetery as sovereign decisions of the Estonian government based on Estonian law. While respecting the right of all inhabitants of Estonia to express their opinion freely on the relocation of the Tonismäe grave marker (Bronze Soldier) and to demonstrate peacefully against these decisions, the EU strongly condemns the looting, rioting and plundering that followed in Tallinn and other Estonian cities. Such vandalism, which led to serious casualties both among policemen and rioters, is unacceptable. We deplore the fact that a Russian citizen lost his life in these riots.
In an inflamed and highly emotional situation, it is the duty of all concerned to tone down rhetoric and to do their utmost to calm things down. Statements capable of further escalating the situation must be avoided. The EU welcomes the direct contacts between Estonia and Russia and hopes for genuine dialogue leading to constructive results.
The Candidate Countries Turkey, Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro, as well as EFTA countries Iceland and Norway, members of the European Economic Area, align themselves with this statement.
* Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.