‘It’s up to US to get on the phone to Kiev and tell them to stop this operation’
Neil Clark is a journalist, writer, broadcaster and blogger. He has written for many newspapers and magazines in the UK and other countries including The Guardian, Morning Star, Daily and Sunday Express, Mail on Sunday, Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph, New Statesman, The Spectator, The Week, and The American Conservative. He is a regular pundit on RT and has also appeared on BBC TV and radio, Sky News, Press TV and the Voice of Russia. He is the co-founder of the Campaign For Public Ownership @PublicOwnership. His award winning blog can be found at www.neilclark66.blogspot.com. He tweets on politics and world affairs @NeilClark66
RT:Is Odessa going to be a turning point? Do you think this standoff between the interim Ukrainian authorities and the pro-Russia protesters is going to be a turning point or is there worse to come?
Neil Clark: I think worse could be to come, and what happens in the next few days is going to be absolutely critical here. And really what happens in the next few days is down to what happens in the US, because there’s no doubt in my mind that the US is actually in charge of the Kiev government’s assaults and the so-called anti-terrorist program that they took part in, which happened after the visit by Joe Biden to Kiev just after Easter. So this sort of anti-terrorist opposition that the Kiev junta calls it has been launched with the approval of the US. So what happens next is really down to the conversation, which is happening right at this moment, between John Kerry and the leading officials in the US and the junta in Kiev.
RT:What do you make of the West’s response so-far to what happened in Odessa, the public response anyway. I don’t know what’s going on behind closed doors, but what’s being said publicly?
NC: Well, there’s been a deafening silence hasn’t there. Just imagine if this had taken place in Venezuela. Just imagine if the Venezuelan government had got armed militias to go to areas where anti-government protesters occupied buildings and they fire bombed them and over forty people were killed in a fire. Just imagine the reaction from John Kerry, from William Hague, from Francoise Hollande, had the Venezuelan government done this. But the Ukrainian Junta does this and there’s absolute silence, which shows you the incredible double standard doesn’t it. If the Venezuelans had been responsible, we would have calls for airstrikes, for humanitarian intervention to protect the civilians. They would be saying Maduro is killing his own people. So the double standards are absolutely off the scale.
RT:Talking of which, focusing back on the east again, the Kiev authorities really ramped up the opposition this week. With the support from the West who at the same time are calling for peace.
NC: I mean if the West genuinely wanted peace, they would be reining in the Kiev junta, telling them to halt their so-called anti-terrorist operation in the East, calling them to have dialogue, calling them to have a more conciliatory tone, calling them for constitutional changes, which were agreed at the Geneva accords. So I think on the one hand the West is trying to portray itself as a peace maker in this. On the other hand the West is behind all that’s going on, I’m afraid. John Kerry and the EU and the US could stop all this tomorrow by simply getting on the phone to the Kiev junta and telling them this is not on. But of course they’re not doing that, they’re doing the opposite. This is an attempt to destroy democracy in the Ukraine. It started with the coup in February and now we’re seeing the most appalling measure of violence taken against protesters in the East of Ukraine.
RT:What do you think is going to happen between now and the presidential elections, is this kind of limbo going to continue? Is it going to ramp up or are things going to change after the elections. How do you think things are going to play out?
NC: Well I think the next week is going to be absolutely critical here. Because if there are going to be any more massacres, like we saw in Odessa with 45 people burned alive there, then I think that Russia has obviously got to play a part here, and say look this can’t go on any longer; we’ve got a human rights issue here. We’ve got people in fear of their lives here; we’ve got the real possibilities of massacres in the East and the ball is in the court of the US and the EU by deliberately toppling the Yanukovich democratically elected government. So it’s up now to the US, to get on the phone to Kiev and to tell them to stop this operation. If this doesn’t happen, we could all be in some very dangerous territory indeed because Russia surely can’t just sit back and allow Russian people to be murdered. The next seven days are going to be absolutely crucial I think.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.