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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Moscow Says West 'Hasty' In Criticism of Campaign

The Foreign Ministry has said the West was being "inadequate and hasty" in criticizing Moscow's military campaign in breakaway Chechnya and suggested criticism marked a return to Cold War rhetoric.


Foreign Ministry spokesman Grigory Karasin told a news briefing that human rights groups were showing "bias" by denouncing high civilian casualties in the fighting. High losses were inevitable, he said.


"We cannot fail to notice the inadequate and hasty reaction of a string of political activists and organizations, practically calling for a freeze on political and economic cooperation with Russia," Karasin said.


"But we note with sorrow rhetoric that calls to mind the recent very sad past of our relationship with the West. We observe a syndrome, a reflex reaction and a return to old stereotypes in reacting to events in our country."


Karasin specifically referred to the indefinite suspension Tuesday of examination of Russia's request for membership of the 33-nation Council of Europe. Members of the council, which serves as a watchdog for human rights in Europe, expressed "grave concern" at developments in Chechnya.


Karasin said Russia viewed human rights as "one of the most important aspects of events. We do not close our eyes to this."


"But it must be clear that the scale of the crisis with which Russia is grappling in Chechnya made human tragedy and losses practically inevitable," he said.


He said the Kremlin noted with satisfaction that most of its Western partners "demonstrated a balanced approach, and that they support maintaining Russia's territorial integrity."


Western countries have gradually abandoned their reluctance to criticize Russia as the scale of fighting has grown.


French Foreign Minister Alain Jupp? said Thursday that the European Union would complain to Russia about its broken promises to keep a cease-fire and start talks on the future of Chechnya.


In its strongest criticism to date of the military intervention in Chechnya, the administration of U.S. President Bill Clinton accused President Boris Yeltsin's government Wednesday of ignoring European guidelines restricting massive troop movements.


"We believe Russia should have given prior notification of certain aspects of its military activity," a U.S. State Department spokeswoman said.