Russian President Vladimir Putin accused the European Union of having “double standards” by rejecting Catalan independence but supporting independence for Kosovo.
“You should have thought about that before,” Putin said, speaking to the EU, in a speech at the Valdai Discussion Club event in Sochi Thursday.
He also suggested that European support for Kosovo’s declaration of independence from Serbia in 2008 had bolstered separatist movements elsewhere. Of the EU’s 28 member countries, five do not recognize Kosovo’s declaration of independence: Spain, Greece, Cyprus, Slovakia and Romania — and neither does Russia.
“You even welcomed the collapse of a number of states in Europe … You were so heedless in using this political situation and the desire to appease the big brother from Washington to support the separation of Kosovo so unanimously, provoking other such processes in other regions,” Putin said.
Putin then accused the EU of holding “double standards.”
“According to some of our colleagues there are true freedom fighters and there are separatists who cannot defend their own rights, even through democratic mechanisms … This is the most poignant example of double standards and they pose a great risk for the stable development of Europe and other continents.”
The Spanish government on Thursday vowed to go ahead with taking direct control of Catalonia after accusing regional President Carles Puigdemont of failing to comply with an ultimatum to clarify whether he had declared independence following an October 1 referendum.