'Kiev obsessed with presenting conflict in Ukraine as war with Russia'
On September 3 Russian President Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Petro Poroshenko had a phone conversation concerning possible steps aimed at resolving the Ukrainian crisis.
RT:The initial statement from Kiev said a “permanent ceasefire” - but has now backtracked on this. Why?
John Laughland: I think this flip-flopping around shows the extreme inconsistency; I would say dangerous inconsistency on the part of President Poroshenko and the Kiev government. After all, let`s not forget that only a couple of days ago President Poroshenko and the Kiev regime told us that Ukraine had been invaded by a thousand Russian soldiers, that a tank battalion had crossed the Ukrainian frontier and that Ukraine and Russia were therefore at war. And this phrase "at war", "war with Ukraine,” "war with Russia,” "war with Europe," was picked up by a number of European politicians including the President of Lithuania. And now it turns out that President Petro Poroshenko had a calm phone conversation with President Putin as just as he had a perfectly cordial meeting with him in Minsk a few days ago, and that they had agreed on the measures to introduce peace. Either way this is not serious. We are at the hundred years after World War I. Can you imagine President Raymond Poincaré saying in January 1915 that he had rung up the German emperor and found a way to resolve the crisis. This shows that the original allegation that Russia had invaded, and that Russia was at war with Ukraine was not true. And that is why I am very skeptical about this latest declaration as well. The Ukrainian president clearly is not very serious or reliable person.
RT:But in case there's no ceasefire - is Ukraine actually ready to go on with the fighting?
JL: It could be positive and of course I hope that it is indeed not serious. On the other hand, let`s never forget the context. [RT] have just said in a report that on Thursday the NATO summit starts in Wales. It could very easily be an attempt to present himself, Poroshenko, as the peacemaker and President Putin as the warmonger. After all in a tweet, even in its amended version, it says that "after a conversation with President Putin I have decided to declare a truce and we have agreed on ways to introduce peace.” As you know, the Kremlin immediately replied that Russia is not a party to the conflict. So even the tweet itself continues with the Kiev regime’s obsession of presenting this civil conflict in Ukraine as a war with Russia. And for as long as Kiev continues to do that, as long as it continues to claim that everything that happens in Ukraine is Russia`s fault and not Ukraine`s fault I do not really see any serious prospect of there being any peace at all.
RT:News coming in now - Kiev says it’s moving towards NATO membership. But will the Alliance accept Ukraine?
JL: That is an optimistic reading of this tweet and of this announcement. I must say it is completely canceled anyway by the announcement that Ukraine is going to seek NATO membership because if signing the Association Agreement with the European Union was controversial, joining NATO is infinitely more controversial and that will throw oil on the flames. But your question is absolutely right - it could well be and this is the alternative more optimistic reading of the tweet and of the announcement, that in fact, President Poroshenko and Kiev have realized that the game is up. They lost, as we know, the airport at Lugansk. The Ukrainian army has suffered heavy losses. We do not have accurate figures but I expect RT probably have better information on this than I do. The figures are high; they are in the high hundreds if not the thousands of Ukrainian soldiers killed. And it could simply be that he is run up a white flag in the face of the inevitable. In a sense that is my hope, because if indeed he realizes that he cannot win militarily, his declaration from the very moment of his election was that he would settle this militarily. If he does now realize that it is not working then there could indeed be grounds for optimism. But as I say there was a ceasefire in June that lasted a week. We have to see how the facts on the ground evolve before we allow ourselves to get too excited.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.