Key US role in Ukraine crisis portrays Europe as ‘passive participant’

Delegates at a plenary meeting held as part of the winter session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE). (RIA Novosti)
President Obama’s declaration that the US “brokered a deal to transition power in Ukraine” shows Europe as a passive actor and doesn’t reflect well on its image, Chairman of Russia’s upper house Committee for Foreign Affairs Konstantin Kosachev told RT.

RT:Why is the current situation with the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) so insulting to Russia?

Konstantin Kosachev: Well, we believe that the assembly was created several decades ago in order to maintain and promote inter-parliamentary dialogue. This is a place where people with different opinions meet together, exchange their views, which do not always coincide, and make certain conclusions.

In this case, after the January plenary session I believe that the Assembly has just interrupted all perspectives for any dialogue with the Russian delegation. They express accusations, they move forward demands, they introduce pre-conditions, which simply cannot be fulfilled, like releasing [espionage suspect, Ukrainian pilot] Nadezhda Savchenko within the period of 24 hours. It cannot be done in any case within any democratic society with the rule of law and certain legal procedures.

But in any case the assembly does take this decision and blocks any [prospects] for common solutions, any mutual understanding, of any dialogue for the future. And by that the assembly isolates itself from any possibilities to make a contribution, to contribute to a peaceful solution of the ongoing crisis in and around Ukraine. And this is what we simply cannot accept. We feel sorry about that because we believe the assembly does have very good potential to play a significant role in the peace enforcement or peacekeeping efforts, but the assembly does not use this potential in order to be a participant of the process. This is simply very stupid.

RT:There is a belief out there that PACE is an American agent in Europe. How can you comment on this?

KK: Well, frankly speaking I do not share this opinion. I believe that the major problem with the Council of Europe is that the organization and the Assembly specifically [are] too much influenced by the European Union. Not by the United States, not by NATO, but by [the] European Union, because member states of the European Union build [up] the majority group of countries who are members of the EU. They are a majority within the Council of Europe, which sometimes is quite visible and predictable. If we know the position of the EU almost for sure that will be the position of the majority in the Council of Europe.

It does not make sense. I feel sorry that the Council of Europe is not a composition of 47 independent states and national delegations. This is a composition of a group of states who are member states of the European Union – and others. And the Council of Europe by that becomes a kind of an entrance room for future member states, future members of European Union – and nothing else. And for countries like Russia, with no plans of becoming a member of the European Union, that creates a situation which does not bring much sense for us in terms of further membership in the Council of Europe and its Parliamentary Assembly.

RT:US President Barack Obama said in an interview with CNN that US “brokered a deal to transition power in Ukraine.” What emotions arise when you hear such statements?

KK: Well, Mr. Obama has acknowledged what has been well-known for a long time and I had no doubts and nobody had doubts that the United States of America did play a very specific role of enforcing protests in Ukraine one year ago. Official representatives of the American administration participated – physically – in protest demonstrations. Each time they would come to Kiev, certain riots would immediately become more intensive.

And I am sure that in case the US had not been presented that much during the initial phase of the crisis, all European countries like Germany, like France, like many others could have been much, much more constructive because these countries, I believe, under regular conditions, would never accept this forceful change of power in Kiev. They would try to express their attitude to people in these protest masses who represented most radical and extremist political views, which previously had not been accepted by European Parliament for example, I mean the [Ukrainian radical] political party Svoboda. They were never accepted in the European Union, but as soon as they became active in terms of the recent crisis, suddenly they became acceptable, everybody kept silence about the previous controversies.

That happened because the USA intervened. The USA, I believe, sent certain very strong signals to their European partners, that this is too important, stop speaking about values, we would try to protect our interests in terms of this conflict. And they succeeded, unfortunately. They succeeded to move forward their political and geopolitical interests by supporting pro-Western forces inside of Ukraine and spoiling or provoking problems in relationships between Ukraine and Russia.

The USA did play a key role in this crisis and this is what has now been acknowledged by Mr. Obama, and we have nothing but to feel sorry about that, and we believe that this acknowledgement is probably not painful, but sensitive for American partners in Europe. Because by that acknowledgement they are presented not as active but as passive participants in this crisis, which I believe is not good for the reputation of these European countries.

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.