Russian President Vladimir Putin met with the press Tuesday to state his case and to assure Russians and Ukrainians that he had no intentions of going to war with Russia’s brothers in the Ukraine.
“We are not going to war with brotherly Ukraine’s people, we are there to defend them, I stress this. Only citizens living on certain territory have a right to determine their future. Deploying military force in Ukraine is the last thing we’ll do, but we reserve right to do it. There’s been unconstitutional power seizure in Ukraine’s Kiev.”
Source: Voice of Russia
Text of Putin’s address to the press
As of Tuesday morning, the exercise in Western Russia, in proximity of the Ukrainian border has ended and troops have been recalled to their garrisons.
In a late development Canadian television network’s Tom Clarke reported that apparently the leader in Crimea had declared the Crimean Peninsula as an independent entity and that near to 6,000 Ukrainian troops had surrendered to the Russian military.
Over the past two days there diplomatic activity and speculation was running wild, with threats of sanctions against Russia. None of this can be implemented unilaterally by the US and Europeans are reluctant to go on a knee jerk reaction.
US Secretary of State John Kerry arrives in Kiev today to show solidarity with the Ukrainian people. While this may be good PR, it is uncertain what he can promise the Ukrainian people. Ukrainians want to know what the West will do.
The West walks a fine line when it comes to sanctions and Vladimir Putin knows this. Europeans, including the UK want to move slow and it is not clear what President Obama has in mind.
What is clear is that the policy of appeasement of adversaries has backfired. Putin seems confident in his position and is pointing out that sanctions will hurt Russia, but not without causing pain to the West.
All threats against Russia are counterproductive, the damage will be mutual, Putin says with determination. As for G8 summit, if our partners do not to come, it is their choice. We are always ready to welcome them in Sochi.
Few words about sanctions. It is those who plan to intoduce those sanctions are those who should think about the consequences. Especially in the modern world, where everyone and everything is interconnected.
As for the G8 summit in Sochi, my telephone conversations with world leaders are confidential but I will mention some public statements they made. For instance, I asked our partners if they think everything they did in Lybia, Afghanistan, Syria had legal basis. Our partners in the US always determine their geopolitical goals and their national interests and if one does not agree with their position, they say ‘either you’re with us or against us’. Our position is different. We act from a completely legal basis.
The propaganda machine in Moscow is well and alive and is reminiscent of the cold war days. The reset button with Russia has obviously backfired.