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EU's Borrell Doubts People in Africa Who Support Russia Know About Putin, Donbass

© AP Photo / Jean-Francois BadiasEuropean Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell delivers his speech during a debate on Russia's war against Ukraine, at the European Parliament, Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022 in Strasbourg, eastern France.
European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell delivers his speech during a debate on Russia's war against Ukraine, at the European Parliament, Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022 in Strasbourg, eastern France.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 09.12.2022
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BRUSSELS (Sputnik) - EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on Thursday that he doubted that people in African countries who showed their support for Russia knew who Vladimir Putin was or where Donbass was located.
"Russia is able to deflect blame, twist realty and find an audience in some parts of world. I have seen in TV screens these young African people on the streets of Bamako [Mali's capital] with billboards saying '[Russian President Vladimir] Putin, thanks. You have saved Donbass and now you will save us.' It is shocking. You can consider that these people do not know where Donbass is or maybe they do not even know who Putin is," Borrell said during a session of the EU Parliament's Special Committee on Foreign Interference.
The EU foreign policy chief claimed that there were also such people in the Balkans, in the countries seeking EU membership.
Borrell's remarks immediately drew criticism from member of the parliament Ozlem Demirel, who said that such statements were arrogant.
"To be honest, what you have said sounds not quite respectful. Such an arrogant tone and lack of respect for Africa have consequences. That is why it is not surprising when Africans are disappointed, nervous and then turn to Russia for help," the lawmaker said.
A woman waits near a donation box at the celebration for the Ukraine Independence day at a celebration in Chichester, south England, Saturday, Aug. 27, 2022 - Sputnik International, 1920, 24.11.2022
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Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova also expressed her concerns over Borrell's remarks, recalling numerous cases when Western politicians showed lack of knowledge on geographical and other topics.

“The gardener, impersonating the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs, has doubted that people in the Balkans and Africa know where Donbass is and who Putin is. Josep [Borrell], don't judge people [and compare them] to yourself,” Zakharova wrote in her Telegram channel.

It is not the first time Borrell made controversial statements that sparked accusations of racism. In early October, speaking at the opening of the European Diplomatic Academy in Bruges, Borrell said that Europe was a "garden" and the rest of the world was a "jungle" that can invade this garden if "gardeners" do not take care of it.
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