Monday

15th Aug 2022

EU drawn into US disputes with Russia and China

  • US president Joe Biden (Photo: Gage Skidmore)

The EU press service has gotten drawn into a verbal punch-up between the Kremlin and White House by endorsing US president Joe Biden's assertion that his Russian counterpart was a "killer".

Biden had said so in a TV interview on Wednesday (17 March), referring to Russian president Vladimir Putin's assassinations of political opponents.

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

And his language evoked an equally pungent response from Putin on Thursday.

"As far as statements by my US counterpart are concerned. What would I say to him in response? I would tell him: 'Be healthy!' I wish him good health," Putin said, in a comment that could be read as a jibe against the 78-year old Biden's advanced age.

"The US authorities in general seek certain relations with us but only in areas the US is interested in and on their own terms," Putin added.

"They think that we are just like them but we aren't. Our genetic, cultural, and moral codes are different. However, we know how to protect our interests," Putin also said.

And when asked by press about Biden's comments earlier on Thursday, an EU spokeswoman took the US side.

There was "sadly, a long list of failed and successful assassination attempts" of Russian regime opponents, her EU statement said.

The EU had already imposed sanctions on Russia over the poisonings of Sergei Skripal, a former Russian spy in the UK, and Alexei Navalny, an opposition leader, the spokeswoman said.

"As president of Russia ... Vladimir Putin ultimately has responsibility for the Russian authorities' policies and actions," she added.

Putin, for his part, also offered to meet Biden as soon as possible.

"I wouldn't put this off for too long. I want to go to the taiga on the weekend to get some rest, but we could do it tomorrow [Friday] or, let's say, on Monday," he told the Rossiya-24 TV channel.

The public positioning vis-a-vis Biden's new administration comes amid EU talk of "strategic autonomy" from its old dependence on US security and foreign policy.

France, for instance, is trying to build "strategic" relations with Russia, while Germany wants to complete a Russian gas pipeline, causing transatlantic tension.

And the EU recently signed an investment treaty with China, despite US concern on expansion of Chinese power.

EU foreign ministers are preparing to impose sanctions on Russian and Chinese officials over human rights next week.

But Biden's White House, on Thursday, also clashed heads with China on human rights in a way likely to force the EU to take sides as it did on Putin's "killer" credentials.

The US wanted to "discuss our deep concerns with actions by China, including in Xinjiang, Hong Kong, Taiwan, cyber attacks on the United States, economic coercion of our allies", secretary of state Antony Blinken said in an acerbic opening statement at a meeting with Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi in Alaska.

"Each of these actions threaten the rules-based order that maintains global stability," Blinken said.

But for Wang, the US "abuses so-called notions of national security to obstruct normal trade exchanges, and incite some countries to attack China".

The US had no place lecturing him on human rights, because black Americans were being "slaughtered", Wang said.

Sweden to extradite man wanted by Turkey

The Swedish government has agreed to extradite a Turkish citizen with Kurdish roots wanted for credit card fraud to Turkey, amid the backdrop of Turkey's Nato threat.

Opinion

Only Western unity can stop Iran hostage-diplomacy

The Belgian parliament's recent decision to ratify its prisoner-exchange treaty with Iran is a grave mistake, and one which exemplifies the many downfalls of dealing with Iran's human-rights abuses on a case-by-case basis.

News in Brief

  1. Germany to help nationals cope with energy price spike
  2. Germany wants pipeline from Portugal
  3. Ukraine urges US to sanction all Russian banks
  4. Spain evacuates 294 Afghans
  5. EU sanctions have 'limited' effect of Russian oil production
  6. Donors pledge €1.5bn to Ukraine's war effort
  7. Sweden overtakes France as EU's top power exporter
  8. Italy's far-right star in European charm offensive

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBConstruction workers can check wages and working conditions in 36 countries
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  3. European Centre for Press and Media FreedomEuropean Anti-SLAPP Conference 2022
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers write to EU about new food labelling
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersEmerging journalists from the Nordics and Canada report the facts of the climate crisis
  6. Council of the EUEU: new rules on corporate sustainability reporting

Latest News

  1. Defying Russian bombs, Ukraine football starts 2022 season
  2. Sweden to extradite man wanted by Turkey
  3. EU must beware Beijing's new charm offensive
  4. Forest fire near Bordeaux forces over 10,000 to flee
  5. Estonia and Latvia sever China club ties
  6. Russian coal embargo kicks in, as EU energy bills surge
  7. Only Western unity can stop Iran hostage-diplomacy
  8. Kosovo PM warns of renewed conflict with Serbia

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us