Kerry's threats vs Russia unacceptable, West sides with neo-Nazis - Russian FM
The Russian Foreign Ministry has said “unacceptable threats” by US Secretary of State John Kerry over Crimea failed to take into account the violent power seizure in Kiev carried out by radicals.
In the statement released Monday, the ministry said Kerry’s “Cold War” rhetoric would do nothing to punish “radical extremists” who carried out the coup, but rather sought to put the focus on Russia. It was also critical of the G7’s decision to suspend preparations for the upcoming G8 summit in Sochi, saying the move was unjustified.
The Foreign Ministry accused Washington and its allies of turning a blind eye to the excesses of what it called militant, Russophobic and anti-Semitic forces operating on Kiev’s central Independence Square, which pushed for the ouster of Ukraine’s embattled President Viktor Yanukovych last month.
“Not bothering to make any effort to understand the complex processes occurring within Ukrainian society or make an objective assessment of the environment, which is furthering the degradation following the forceful seizure of power in Kiev by radical extremists, [Secretary of State John Kerry] operates with a ‘Cold War’ stamp, offering not to punish those who carried out the government overthrow, but the Russian Federation,” the statement said.
"And while glossing over this, the USA and its allies have closed their eyes to the excesses of the radical fighters on Maidan, their bullying of political opponents and ordinary citizens, as well as their anti-Semitism and militant Russophobia.”
Moscow further accused European powers of standing idly by while the “newly born Kiev regime” trampled on the EU mediated agreement of February 21, in which Yanukovich reached a deal with the opposition to settle the crisis. The ministry noted the foreign ministers of France, Germany and Poland had signed off on the document which was thrown out of the window when opposition forces seized power the next day. In the process, the West has effectively allied itself with neo-Nazis who are smashing up Orthodox churches and synagogues while “declaring war on the Russian language.”
On Sunday, Kerry threatened to isolate Russia economically and politically for deploying troops in the Crimea to protect the majority Russian speaking population, which Moscow says is under threat.
"You just don’t invade another country on phony pretext in order to assert your interests,” Kerry said during an interview with NBC’s Meet the Press. “This is an act of aggression that is completely trumped up in terms of its pretext. It’s really 19th century behaviour in the 21st century.”
“There could be certainly disruption of any of the normal trade routine, there could be business drawback on investment in the country,” he continued. “There could even be ultimately asset freezes, visa bans.”
Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich on Monday warned that suspending preparations for the upcoming Group of 8 summit in Sochi would not only damage the member states, but the entire international community.
"In connection with a number of well-known statements from Group of Eight members, the decision to suspend work within the framework of the Russian presidency in the international structure will motivate nothing,” the spokesman said.
“It is not only politically defective, but also contrary to the principles of constructive cooperation of this format, which is oriented towards using the combined potential of the G8 in the interests of development, global stability, and the fight against transnational challenges and threats.”
Lukashevich said that he hopes that as opposed to the prevailing politicized climate in some capitals, they member states would be able to continue working together in the G8.
“The Russian side is ready for this,” he said.
On Sunday, the G7 - Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States - along with the President of the European Council and the President of the European Commission condemned Russia for what it called a"clear violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine."
"Russia's actions in the Ukraine also contravene the principles and values on which the G-7 and the G-8 operate. As such, we have decided for the time being to suspend our participation in activities associated with the preparation of the scheduled G-8 Summit in Sochi in June, until the environment comes back where the G-8 is able to have a meaningful discussion."
Kerry issued a starker warning, saying that not only the upcoming G8 summit in Sochi, but Russia’s membership in the global forum, were at risk.
“He is not going to have a Sochi G8, he may not even remain in the G8 if this continues,” Kerry said. “He may find himself with asset freezes, on Russian business, American business may pull back, there may be a further tumble of the ruble.”
The 40th G8 summit is to be held on June 4-5 at the Black Sea resort of Sochi. If the meeting goes ahead, the leaders are expected to focus on responses to new global threats.