Verkhovna Rada Speaker Says No Privileges for Russians in Ukraine

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The speaker of the Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada, Ruslan Stefanchuk, has said that the law on national minorities adopted in Ukraine in December 2022 does not apply to Russians. According to him, representatives of the Russian nation cannot have privileges in Ukraine. “I am very grateful to both the Venice Commission and the European Commission for listening to the arguments and coming to the understanding that there should be, again, the principle of mutual respect. If this nation does not show respect and, on the contrary, carries out aggression against Ukraine, then its rights should be infringed in this part,” Stefanchuk said during the telethon (quoted by On 9 October, the Venice Commission (the Council of Europe’s advisory body on constitutional law) concluded that the latest amendments to the Ukrainian legislation on national minorities require additional measures to join the EU. In November, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy signed a law taking into account the recommendations. At the same time, it is specified that the rights of national minorities may be restricted “for national security purposes”. The language relaxations do not concern the language of the “aggressor state”. Following this, an unnamed official told Euronews that the European Commission would not take into account the issue of the Russian language’s use in Ukraine for the EU accession negotiations. Ukraine’s deputy prime minister for European and Euro-Atlantic integration, Olha Stefanishyna, said that there was no Russian national minority in the country or oppression of those who speak Russian.