‘Russia has legitimate interest in Ukraine crisis’
RT:What was your reaction to [US Secretary of State John] Kerry's words about Russia?
Eric Joyce: Well, it’s a question of trying to judge whether there were simply words or was there something substantial behind them. I suppose for many of us sitting and watching and trying to decode whether America actually has any intention of doing something substantial, they do sound quite aggressive. I must say that it doesn’t surprise me but it’s a question of trying to get to grips with what these words actually mean.
RT:Now that Russia said it's not planning an intervention, do you think Washington will somehow change its stance?
EJ: You know, the strange thing is that the EU has been in a strange way, collectively and very unusually very central to all this and encouraging effectively a change in direction for Ukraine at a time when they weren't paying enough attention to Russia’s interests. Sitting here as a member of parliament of the UK and speaking to my constituents I hear people are saying mainly the same thing which is we can’t really be surprised if Russia is very concerned about not just its own borders, but of Russian nationals just over the border. This is a sensitive area and the Eastern part of the Ukraine and Crimea are sensitive, and it seems strange that the EU and America have chosen to be so aggressive and act so surprised.
RT:Do you think President Putin's recent statement that Russia won’t invade Ukraine will help to ease international tension?
EJ: I think so. But who knows? It’s up to people in the Crimea and the eastern part of Ukraine to decide what their destiny is. I think it’s quite clear that the UK certainly doesn't wish to harm its relationships with Russia. I think one imagines the America feels much the same. The commercial relations are important and this is Russia’s backyard and I think everyone who ignores that is making a very big mistake. I think Russia’s got a legitimate interest, to be perfectly frank. But I think people wouldn't like to see Russia certainly take over a substantial chunk of Ukraine. I don't think that's at risk and if President Putin is able to put people's minds at rest on that front, then I think it would be very important.
RT:As for Crimea's strive for self-determination, Western governments are not recognizing it. Why do you think that is?
EJ: It’s been strange part and I really can’t tell you every aspect of the equation from the EU perspective but it’s been a strange part of the EU government to regard the Ukraine as something inviolable which in spite of being in Russian backyard and particularly the sensitive parts we were talking about. The EU has quite clearly encouraged developments in Ukraine that would be very unhelpful in terms of Russia's own national security and its own sense of confidence and security, the people of Russia's sense of security and of Russian citizens Russian-speakers in Crimea. And the strange aspect of all this is how the EU has overwhelmingly encouraged events to topple an elected government in the Ukraine in spite of the fact that it will clearly antagonize Russia and it doesn’t really make sense to me.
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