Ceremony to mark Putin’s fifth term in office divides EU

Insight Online News

Brussels, May 7 : There are considerable differences within the European Union over the correct way to handle invitations to the ceremony marking the start of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s fifth term in office.

As several EU diplomats told news agency dpa in Brussels on Monday, countries such as France, Hungary and Slovakia want to send representatives to Putin’s swearing-in ceremony in order to keep channels of dialogue open.

However, Germany and numerous other EU states consider participation to be inappropriate, particularly in view of Russia’s war against Ukraine. “Germany will not be attending this event,” a spokeswoman for the Foreign Office in Berlin said on Monday.

In Germany’s case, the government has also recalled the German ambassador in Moscow, Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, to Berlin for a week of consultations following cyberattacks on the Social Democratic Party (SPD) and German companies. The German government blames a unit of the Russian military intelligence service for the attacks.

Like most ambassadors from EU member states, the European Union’s official representative in Moscow will not be present at Tuesday’s ceremony, a spokesman for the European External Action Service said late in the evening in Brussels.

Foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell had previously spoken out against the EU’s participation in the event. According to diplomats, however, there were also dissenting voices, which are said to have warned that not attending the ceremony could give Russia an excuse to ignore even more diplomatic rules and norms in future.

Putin intends to take the oath for a further term in office as Russian president on Tuesday morning. This will mark the start of six more years as head of state.

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