Friday, September 5, 2014

Russia: Moscow Seemingly Wants It Both Ways

According to The Latin American Tribune, Russia will take retaliatory measures to defend its “legitimate interests” if the European Union (EU) imposes new sanctions over Moscow’s intervention in Ukraine, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement released Monday (September 1).

“The hysteria whipped up in the run-up to European Council’s meeting around the mythical "Russian aggression in Ukraine" has yielded fruit,” the Foreign Ministry said, referring to the conclusions that emerged from last Saturday’s gathering of EU leaders.

The EU holds Moscow responsible for what is happening in Ukraine based on “absolutely groundless allegations” and instead of contributing to an immediate cease-fire, the European bloc continues to ignore the real reasons behind the conflict, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

Moscow says the crisis is due to Kiev’s refusal to recognize the “legitimate interests” of residents of eastern Ukraine, many of them ethnic Russians.

COMMENT: First of all,  those ethnic Russians who chose to live in the Ukraine did so at their own volition.

“It is regrettable that the European Council, in spite of the interests of its member-states, takes its lead from the countries seeking to implement geopolitical schemes aimed at making confrontation with Russia increasingly acute,” the statement said.

Moscow, according to the statement, “still hopes that the EU will be able to gain an independent perspective on the situation free from 20th century stereotypes and engage in constructive efforts to facilitate a settlement of Ukraine’s internal conflict.”

Russia’s foreign minister said earlier Monday (September 1) that his country will not intervene militarily in Ukraine.

“There will be no military interference. We are committed exclusively to the peaceful settlement of this deep crisis, this tragedy,” Sergey Lavrov said in a speech at the Moscow State University of Foreign Affairs.

The US and the EU should “demand from Kiev the same that they demand in all other conflicts: to stop using heavy weaponry and aviation against cities and civilians and not destroy hospitals and schools,” he said.

“I expect that the talks scheduled to begin today will be dedicated to the task of fixing, immediately and without preconditions, terms for a cease-fire,” Foreign Minister Lavrov said, referring to negotiations in Minsk among representatives of Ukraine, Russia, the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe and the rebels in eastern Ukraine.

He also called on the West to set aside the threats of sanctions.

“We believe that in relations with the EU and the US, it is possible and necessary to return to pragmatic cooperation based on equality of rights and mutual respect. But for this, it is necessary to give up the absolutely hopeless policy of ultimatums, threats and sanctions,” Lavrov said.