Washington: The Russian Embassy in the United States has called on Washington to refrain from accusing Russia of alleged violations of citizens’ religious rights and to pay attention to the campaign to discredit traditional family and religious values in the US instead.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Friday that the US was designating Burma, China, Cuba, Eritrea, Iran, Nicaragua, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan as being of concern when it comes to religious freedom, opening them up for sanctions.
“Our country is baselessly accused of involvement in ‘gross violations’ of the religious rights of citizens. Moreover, the statements are so worn out that the Americans do not even bother to at least ‘refresh’ the wording of the claims. Instead of moralizing, Washington should pay attention to its own shortcomings. The aggressive campaign to discredit traditional family and religious values alone is enough,” the Russian embassy said on Friday.
The diplomatic mission stressed that Russia’s strength comes from it being a multi-confessional and multi-ethnic state.
“Defending the rights of believers is an absolute priority [for Moscow],” the embassy said.
Blinken said on Friday that the United States will continue to monitor the status of religious freedom worldwide and advocate for those facing persecution or discrimination.
The US has designated organizations including Russia’s private military company Wagner Group and the Taliban (under UN sanctions) as entities of particular concern.
In November, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree approving the foundations of state policy to preserve and strengthen traditional Russian spiritual and moral values. The document outlines Russia’s traditional values such as life, dignity, patriotism, high moral standards, humanity and strong family bonds, among others.