Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Russia Can’t Be Blackmailed Over Ukraine, Putin Says

It’s futile for the U.S. and its allies to “blackmail” Russia over the Ukraine crisis, President Vladimir Putin said in a newspaper interview today.

Russia’s partners should remember the risks involved in disputes between nuclear powers, Putin said. He accused Barack Obama of adopting a “hostile” approach in naming Russia as a threat to the world in the U.S. president’s speech to the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 24.

“We hope that our partners will realize the futility of attempts to blackmail Russia and remember what consequences discord between major nuclear powers could bring for strategic stability,” Putin told Serbia’s Politika newspaper on the eve of his visit to the Balkan nation today.

Putin said that Obama had identified Russian aggression in Europe as one of the three “major threats facing humanity,” alongside the Ebola virus and Islamic State.

“Together with the sanctions against entire sectors of our economy, this approach can be called nothing but hostile,” Putin said.

Attempts to pressure Russia with “unilateral and illegitimate restrictive measures” will impede efforts to settle the crisis, he said.

“How can we talk about de-escalation in Ukraine while the decisions on new sanctions are introduced almost simultaneously with the agreements on the peace process?” he said. “If the main goal is to isolate our country, it’s an absurd and illusory goal.”

Looming Recession

Ukraine, the U.S. and the European Union say Russia is sending insurgents cash, weapons, and fighters in eastern Ukraine to encourage their separatist aspirations and to prevent the country of more than 40 million from strengthening ties with the EU and NATO. Putin denies any military involvement, while tit-for-tat sanctions have plunged relations to their lowest since the Cold War and pushed Russia to the brink of recession.

Putin said a “real opportunity” existed to end the fighting, which he called a “civil war.” He said the U.S. had actively supported protests that led to an “unconstitutional seizure of power” with the overthrow of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych in February.

“When its Kiev henchmen antagonized a large part of Ukraine through rabid nationalism and plunged the country into a civil war, it blamed Russia for provoking the crisis,” Putin said.

Gas Supplies

Asked if Europeans should prepare for a “cold winter” because of doubts over gas supplies linked to Ukraine’s debt to Russia, Putin said Russia was meeting all of its obligations to European consumers.

“Naturally, we are aware of the risks generated by the Ukrainian crisis,” he said. Russia is willing to continue talks with the EU and Ukraine to ensure the uninterrupted transit of gas to Europe and the resumption of flow to Ukraine.

“As for the future of Russian gas exports to Europe, the problem of transit across the Ukrainian territory remains,” Putin said.

He urged the European Commission to lift restrictions on OAO Gazprom’s use of the OPAL pipeline, which connects the Nord Stream pipeline to Germany. A “deadlock” over the South Stream pipeline project should also be resolved, he said.

Bloomberg again

No comments:

Post a Comment