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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Protest Over N. Ireland Angers U.K.

VIENNA -- Russia has angered Britain by saying a fact-finding mission should look into the "disproportionate" use of force by police and soldiers in Northern Ireland, according to documents obtained Friday.

Russia's remarks to a closed-door meeting at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in Vienna were its latest criticism of what it sees as double standards toward Moscow among Western countries at the OSCE.

Diplomats say Russia dislikes the OSCE's criticism of its democratic and human rights record and feels the organization, Europe's biggest security and human rights watchdog, focuses too much on countries "east of Vienna."

"An OSCE fact-finding mission should be sent to Northern Ireland for the purpose of conducting an in-depth study of all the circumstances surrounding the current exacerbation of this longstanding conflict," Russia's envoy to the OSCE, Boris Timokhov, said in a statement.

Human rights bodies have criticized Russia for its rights record in Chechnya. The EU has condemned what it called "abuses" by federal forces in Chechnya, including forced disappearances, extrajudicial executions and torture.

Timokhov told the OSCE on Thursday that Russia was concerned at the situation in Northern Ireland after the Irish Republican Army withdrew an offer to disarm earlier this month. The mission should consider "the acts of terrorism and the instances of a disproportionate use of armed force by the army and the police that have occurred there," he said, adding that the findings could help mediators in the province.

Britain's ambassador refuted Timokhov's statement. "There are many problems in Northern Ireland, but use of excessive force is not one of them," British Ambassador Colin Munro said.

While Russia said it was acting out of concern for European security and stability, one diplomat said it was simply angry at the OSCE, which has denounced elections in Russia and neighboring countries as falling short of democratic standards.