Sunday

23rd Jan 2022

Russia mocks ex-Nato chief's new Kiev job

  • Fogh Rasmussen (second from right) was outspoken critic of Russia in his time as Nato chief (Photo: nato.int)

Russian politicians have mocked Ukraine’s decision to appoint a former Nato chief, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, as an aide to president Petro Poroshenko.

Sergei Zhigarev, a Russian MP who is deputy head of the Duma’s defence committee, told Russian media it showed Poroshenko “does not trust his own citizens”. Konstantin Kosachev, the head of the foreign affairs committee, called it “buffoonery” that is designed “to keep Ukraine in the centre of attention with its Western partners”. Leonid Kalashnikov, who is Kosachev’s deputy, called it a “hostile gesture” toward Russia.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

Fogh Rasmussen's appointment was announced over the weekend. The former Danish PM, who was Nato secretary general from 2009 to 2014, and who now works in the PR sector, said on Facebook on Saturday (28 May) that he would “promote security and reforms in Ukraine and strengthen the Ukraine-EU bond.” He said the situation in east Ukraine was “alarming”, but he also urged Kiev to do more to “fight against corruption”.

The ex-Nato chief is the latest in a series of foreigners appointed to senior posts in Ukraine including in the finance ministry, economy ministry, EU affairs ministry, the prosecution service and local government. The governor of Ukraine's Odessa region and former Georgian PM Mikheil Saakashvilli is also disliked by the Kremlin.

The Russian MPs’ tough talk comes after a visit by Russian leader Vladimir Putin to Greece last Friday and Saturday. Putin said while in Athens that Romanian people should get used to being “in the cross-hairs” after they agreed to host a US anti-missile base and that there would be “no discussions” on restoring Crimea to Ukraine. “As far as Crimea is concerned, we consider this question is closed forever”, he said.

The Greek PM, Alexis Tsipras, criticised EU sanctions. “We have repeatedly said that the vicious circle of militarisation, of Cold War rhetoric and of sanctions is not productive. The solution is dialogue”, he said, as EU leaders prepare to extend the duration of the Russia measures before they expire in July.

News in Brief

  1. 'No embargo' on meetings with Putin, EU says
  2. Austria to fine unvaccinated people €3,600
  3. MEP: Airlines should start paying for CO2 sooner
  4. Twitter forced to disclose what it does to tackle hate speech
  5. EU watchdog calls for ban on political microtargeting
  6. MEPs adopt position on Digital Service Act
  7. Blinken delivers stark warning to Russia in Berlin
  8. Hungary's Orbán to discuss nuclear project with Putin

Opinion

Why Russia politics threaten European security

Russia could expand hostile operations, such as poisonings, including beyond its borders, if it feels an "existential" threat and there is no European pushback.

Analysis

Ten years on from Tahrir: EU's massive missed opportunity

Investing in the Arab world, in a smart way, is also investing in the European Union's future itself. Let's hope that the disasters of the last decade help to shape the neighbourhood policy of the next 10 years.

Latest News

  1. Lawyers threaten action over new EU gas and nuclear rules
  2. MEPs urge inclusion of abortion rights in EU charter
  3. EU orders Poland to pay €70m in fines
  4. Dutch mayors protest strict lockdown measures
  5. Macron promises strong EU borders
  6. MEPs to crackdown on digital 'Wild West'
  7. Macron calls for new security order and talks with Russia
  8. Macron's vision will hit EU Council veto buffers

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us