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Carter Opposes West's Sanctions That Hurt Russian People

By Countercurrents 

23 April, 2014

Former US president Jimmy Carter said Tuesday the West should not impose sanctions that would hurt the Russian people over their leaders' actions in Ukraine . And, hours after the US vice-president Joe Biden's Kiev visit, the Kiev authority has relaunched military assaults against the federationists in the east of Ukraine . The federationists are opposing the authority that has seized parliament and usurped power in Kiev .

Media reports on Ukraine said:

Carter told AFP on the sidelines of a discussion in Paris on climate crisis: "I don't think we would go so far as to impose sanctions that would hurt the Russian people."

Carter was taking part in a meeting with students as a member of The Elders group set up to promote human rights around the world.

Carter said Russia 's takeover of Crimea had been "inevitable".

"I don't think anything could have been done by the US or European countries or anyone else to prevent that eventuality.

" Russia has always considered Crimea to be part of Russia ."

He said: "my hope and my belief is that (Russian President Vladimir) Putin is not going to use military force" in eastern Ukraine .

"He is going to try to use other means to convince those people who live there that their best option is to cast their lot more towards Russia than towards the West. So I don't think there is anything we can do that is going to deter Putin."

Carter said Ukrainians must be allowed to decide their own fate.

He hoped they would be supported by Russia from the East and the US and Europe from the West so as to "not be torn between the two."

Kiev relaunches military assault

The Kiev authority has relaunched military assaults against its pro-Kremlin separatists, hours after US Vice President Joe Biden ended a two-day visit to Kiev in which he warned Russia over its actions in the former Soviet republic.

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Already the US has started sending 600 troops to Poland and to Baltic countries – Estonia , Lithuania and Latvia – for "exercises".

The latest moves underscored the severity of the crisis that has brought East-West relations to their most perilous point since the end of the Cold War.

The acting president in Kiev , Oleksandr Turchynov, said on Tuesday he was ordering the military to restart operations against the rebels.

In a further slide back towards violence, which many fear could tip into civil war, a Ukrainian reconnaissance plane was hit by gunfire while flying above Slavyansk . However, the Antonov An-30 propellor-driven plane safely made an emergency landing and none of its crew members were hurt.

The federationists had taken over Kramatorsk 's police station late Monday, extending their grip from the already occupied town hall.

Russia is claiming Kiev 's new leaders are to blame for the collapse of the accord, which was reached recently in Geneva .

Russia says ultra-nationalists who were involved in months of protests that ousted Ukraine 's president Viktor Yanukovych in February killed rebels in an attack Sunday near the eastern town of Slavyansk .

"We in the United States stand with you and the Ukrainian people," Biden said in a joint news conference with Arseniy Yatsenyuk, the prime minister claimant in Kiev .

$5 billion regime change-investment

The US is to blame for the events in Ukraine as it invested $5 billion in regime change in the country, taking a more radical stance that its EU allies, said Vitaly Churkin, Russia's envoy to the UN.

“It seems it was the Americans, who tried to push through the most radical scenario,” Churkin said in an interview with Rossiya 24 channel. “They didn't want any sort of compromise between Yanukovich and the opposition. And, I think, they came to the conclusion that it was time to cash in those $5 billion and handle the matter towards abrupt regime change, which, eventually, happened.”

This explains why the US , but not the European Union, took center stage when the coup resulted in legal vacuum in Kiev , he added.

US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland told CNN on Monday that Washington has invested around $5 billion into supporting democracy in Ukraine since the fall of Soviet Union .

But Churkin has doubts about Nuland's claims, saying that “any sane person would, at least, say that those investments didn't pay off.”

“If those $5 billion were spent on support of democracy, but not overthrow of the existing government and regime change, then no democracy has triumphed there [in Ukraine],” he explained.

The Maidan standoff was “a head-on attack” by the US and its Western allies aimed at distancing Russia and Ukraine from each other, Russia 's envoy to the UN said.

However, it failed and “led to a completely unexpected result for them when Crimea was reunited with Russia ,” he stressed.

“One has to be naïve to suggest that it all happened fast,” Churkin said of the deal on the de-escalation of the Ukraine crisis, which Kiev agreed with Russia , the US and EU on April 17.

“Despite all their recurrent adventurism, they [the US ] realize that peace is rather fragile and too many crises, too much unrest has been created in different parts of the world. I don't think they're interested in the emergence of a new serious crisis, with non-obvious consequences for them,” the envoy said.


According to Churkin, one of those steps should be the confiscation of 3 million items of weapons, which are currently illegally held by the “radical nationalists” in Ukraine .

Kiev calls for the disarmament of federalization supporters in eastern Ukraine, but “how will the radicals [from Western Ukraine] lay down their arms as they are sometimes declared the National Guard and thus obtain official status?” he wondered.

The envoy has ruled out the possibility of a UN peacekeeping operation in Ukraine , calling it “unrealistic.”

“ Ukraine is a very big country and from political point of view there's no frontline there. And, thank God, it can't be drawn,” he said.

The presence of observers from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) “is just enough to monitor what's happening there,” Churkin stressed.

The envoy also said the EU has begun realizing there's “a considerable danger” in the rise of far-right forces in Ukraine .

“It's not a secret that Europe has radicals of its own. Giving such a boost to the nationalist radicalism in Europe … I think that serious politicians understand this,” he said.

But those concerns are only shared during personal contacts, but “nobody talks openly about it,” he added.

Russia dismisses US threat

In Moscow , Russian prime minister Dmitry Medvedev dismissed the US threat of new sanctions.

"I am sure we will be able to minimize their consequences," he said in a televised speech to the Russian parliament.

However he acknowledged that Russia 's economy was facing an "unprecedented challenge".

A divided EU

The European Union is divided on going further with its own sanctions on Moscow , with some member states worried that increased punishment could jeopardize supplies of Russian gas.

Sweden , which is not a NATO member, announced Tuesday it was increasing defense spending because of the "deeply unsettling development in and around Ukraine ". It plans to boost its fleets of fighter jets and submarines.

Lugansk plans referendum

In the eastern part of Ukraine , the federationists remain firmly entrenched in public buildings they have occupied for more than a week.

In the town of Lugansk , protesters pledged to hold their own local referendum on autonomy on May 11.









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