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EU to show Film Festival in Russia despite war in Ukraine

The festival, which was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2012 for advancing the causes of peace, democracy and human rights, now overlooks the Russia’s ongoing human rights abuses and war crimes in Ukraine.
Illustrative photo. Credit: Deadline
EU to show Film Festival in Russia despite war in Ukraine

The EU is bringing the European Film Festival back to Russia this November 2023, despite the ongoing war in Ukraine, Radio Liberty reported.

The event did not take place in 2022 due to the full-scale invasion. According to the media, this year the Film Festival will show 21 films from EU countries including Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Czechia and Luxembourg.

The event will take place online from November 1-15, mostly free of charge, Radio Liberty wrote, citing the EU’s delegation to Russia.

EU Ambassador to Russia Roland Galharague said in Moscow that “even in the difficult context of Russia’s war against Ukraine, the union wants to show that relations between Europeans and Russians can continue.”

Why is it inappropriate?

As mentioned before, the Film Festival did not take place in 2022 due to Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. As mentioned on the Festival’s website “they have built a zone of stability, democracy and sustainable development whilst maintaining cultural diversity, tolerance and individual freedoms”. In addition, in 2012, the EU was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for advancing the causes of peace, reconciliation, democracy and human rights.

However, Russia, where the EU Film Festival plans to resume its event this year, has not stopped committing war crimes against Ukraine’s people, culture, environment etc.

In early October, Ukraine’s prosecutors recorded more than 265 Russian war crimes against the environment and 14 cases of ecocide.

Recently, the United Nations Human Rights Council said that there is “continuous evidence” Russian forces are committing war crimes in Ukraine. The UN Human Rights Council’s Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine “documented explosive weapons attacks on residential buildings, a functional medical facility, a railway station, a restaurant, shops and commercial warehouses,” which led to civilian casualties, the disruption of essential services and supplies, and the damage or destruction of key facilities.

Erik Møse, Chair of the Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine, said that his team had collected further evidence indicating that “the use of torture by Russian armed forces in areas under their control has been widespread and systematic.”

Ukraine’s Prosecutor’s General Office has informed recently, that 509 children were killed and 1139 injured due to Russia’s war against Ukraine. Moreover, Russia keeps on forcibly transferring Ukrainian people to Russia. At this time, nearly 5 million people, including over 700,000 children, forcibly transferred from Ukraine to Russia since launching its full-scale invasion in 2022.

Thus, the EU Film Festival commissions’ decision shows that the festival’s engagement with Russia now overlooks the country’s ongoing human rights abuses and war crimes in Ukraine.

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