السقوط في الذاكرة / Fall in memory
mix media on canvas 100 × 100 Cm , Wissam Al Jazairy / 2014 C
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Russia gave $50,000 to author of UN report which said the country was the 'victim' of UN sanctions

Russia paid $50,000 (£36,800) to the author of a United Nations report which found the country to be the “victim” of sanctions imposed on it by the US and the EU, it has been revealed.

An investigator from the UN human rights council said the sanctions, imposed in response to the Russian annexation of Crimea from Ukraine, amounted to “unilateral coercive measures”.

A Geneva-based watchdog group has now challenged the report’s author, former Algerian ambassador Idriss Jazairy, over the ethics of his receiving $50,000 from Russia last year.

The UN report “makes the astounding claim that the Russian government of Vladimir Putin is a victim of human rights violations, and that the perpetrators are the EU and the US”, said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, a non-governmental human rights group.

Russia immediately seized upon the UN report, saying that Moscow “categorically rejected unilateral coercive measures” which it said amounted to “collective punishment” and “violated the standards of international law and fundamental human rights".

In June this year, the UN voted to extend sanctions that prohibit EU businesses from investing in Crimea as well as targeting tourism and imports of products from the country.

Russia’s delegate said “the sole authority to introduce sanctions should be the UN Security Council".

Sanctions had been imposed “following the legitimate right of the citizens of Crimea to exercise their right to self-determination”.

Other nations including Venezuela, Cuba and China are members of the 47-nation council, and have been able to influence the appointment of experts sympathetic towards their regimes.

UN Watch expressed concern over a “fixed” panel discussion set to take place discussing Western sanctions against regimes considered to be human rights abusers and chaired by the Egyptian ambassador.

The panel includes Mr Jazairy and two other experts installed by Cuba, along with the Venezuelan ambassador and a pro-Russian Belarus academic.

Mr Putin said this week that Russia will ask the UN to send its peacekeepers to Donbass in eastern Ukraine to secure a ceasefire, which German Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomed, saying it could be the first step towards removing the sanctions.