Putin: Washington behind Ukraine events all along, though flying low
The US has been behind the Ukrainian crisis from the beginning, but was initially flying low, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said. He added that if sanctions continue, Russia will have to reconsider who has access to key sectors of its economy.
“I think what is happening now shows us who really was mastering the process from the beginning. But in the beginning, the United States preferred to remain in the shadow,” Putin said, as quoted by RIA Novosti.
Putin stated that since the US has taken a lead role in resolving the political crisis in Ukraine, it is “telling that they originally were behind this process, but now they just have emerged as leaders” of it.
The "Maidan cookies" policy paves the way to a broader crisis, Putin warned, referring to US officials showing up in central Kiev and encouraging protesters during demonstrations.
“It is necessary to understand that the situation is serious and try to find serious approaches to the solution,” he said.
Putin said that he has called on Kiev to start an all-Ukrainian dialogue, adding that other countries should not be blamed for the crisis.
“[They should] treat equally the rights of those living in other areas of Ukraine, first of all, I mean, the east and southeast, establish a dialogue, find a compromise," he told journalists while speaking about the measures necessary to put an end to the crisis. “Here's what you need to do; searching for the guilty outside Ukraine is wrong.”
Russia may reconsider foreign access to energy sector
Regarding the last row of sanctions imposed on Russia by the US and the EU, Vladimir Putin said he sees no need for counter sanctions.
"We would very much wish not to resort to any measures in response," he told reporters. "But if something like that continues, we will of course have to think about who is working in the key sectors of the Russian economy, including the energy sector, and how.”
Certain US companies have close business ties to Russia, including Exxon Mobil and Chevron Corp.
For example, Exxon Mobil's net acreage holdings in Sakhalin, Russia were about 85,000 acres at the end of 2013, while its net acreage in the Rosneft joint venture for the Kara and Black Seas was 11.3 million acres.
Chevron Corp has a 15 percent stake in the Caspian Pipeline Consortium, which transports crude oil from Kazakhstan through Russia to the Black Sea.
On Monday, the US implemented its latest round of sanctions against Russia, targeting business leaders and companies with ties to Putin.
"Regarding the second package, it's not clear at all what this is linked to, because there is no cause and effect link with what is happening now in Ukraine and Russia," Putin said.
At the same time, the US and EU sanctions will not harm the Eurasian integration process, which is meant to lead to the creation of the Eurasian Economic Union, based on a Customs Union and common economic space among Russia, Kazakhstan, and Belarus, he said.
Putin also commented on observers from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) being detained in eastern Ukraine, stating that he is confident that the situation will be resolved, but stressing that all parties involved must draw conclusions.
“All the participants in this process will have to draw conclusions from this, from this situation. And from now on avoid such mistakes,” he said.
Putin noted that he understands the concerns of European partners and added that Ukrainian authorities should have discussed and received approval for the visit from local authorities in eastern Ukraine in order to avoid such a situation.