There Is No Russian Minority in Ukraine, So Its "Rights" Do Not Come Up in Negotiations with EU – Ukraine's Senior Official
Thursday, 9 November 2023
Olha Stefanishyna, Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration of Ukraine, insists that the issue of protecting the Russian minority is not raised in the negotiations with the EU on minority rights.
Stefanishyna at a joint press conference with Katarína Mathernová, EU Ambassador to Ukraine, acknowledged that the issue of guaranteeing minority rights will be very important on Ukraine's path to EU membership, and this is not purely Ukrainian peculiarity. A number of other candidates also faced demands in this area during their accession negotiations.
However, despite the fact that the Venice Commission refers to the "Russian minority" in its decisions and recommendations to Kyiv, it is not mentioned in the dialogue with the EU.
"There is no Russian minority in Ukraine. It does not exist! There is not a single legally registered community that identifies itself as a Russian minority. There are Ukrainians, some of whom speak Russian. I am from Odesa, I speak Ukrainian when I want to, and I speak Russian when I want to. And I do not need Muscovites or the decision of the Venice Commission to do so (choose a language – ed.)," Stefanishyna explained.
She stressed that Brussels shares this view.
"I am glad that the European Commission understands this," she said.
The day before, the European Commission supposedly also stated at a closed briefing in Brussels that it would not take into account the "rights of Russian speakers" on Ukraine's path to the EU.