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West misuses Putin's peace initiative without scruple - experts

June 25, 2014, 17:36 UTC+3 Zamyatina Tamara

MOSCOW, June 25./ITAR-TASS/. Despite yet another Putin peace initiative, the West unscrupulously demands that Russia takes new steps to settle the Ukrainian crisis, though Moscow is not involved in the conflict between Kiev and Ukraine’s southeast, say experts polled by ITAR-TASS.

On Wednesday, the Federation Council upper house of parliament approved the president’s proposal to cancel the March 1 decree entitling the president to employ Russian armed forces in Ukraine. Putin had initiated steps to ease tension in Ukraine earlier. In May, he called on Donetsk and Luhansk leaders to postpone referendums on the rebellious regions’ status, describing the presidential election as a step in the right direction.

A day before Petro Poroshenko’s inauguration, Putin met him in Normandy, France. Then, the Russian president sent Russian ambassador Mikhail Zurabov back to Kiev for trilateral negotiations between Kiev, the eastern republics and the West, starting on June 23, Deputy Director of the Center of Political Technologies Alexey Makarkin told ITAR-TASS.

“However, the West seeks to control Ukraine and prevent Moscow from protecting the interests of the Russian-speaking population in the country’s southeast,” the expert said. "While welcoming Putin’s initiative, the White House and NATO have put forward new demands - withdrawal of troops from the border with Ukraine and public condemnation of federalisation supporters in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. Otherwise, they say, anti-Russian sanctions will not be lifted.”

But the president reiterated, speaking in Vienna on Tuesday, that Russia would always stand by “ethnic Russians in Ukraine and those who consider themselves part of the broad Russian world,” Makarkin added. “It is this position that the US, NATO and the European Union balk at as they are making joint efforts to create an environment where the confrontation in the southeast ends with Kiev’s victorious military operation. This is the reason for the West’s attempts to press Russia."

Lieutenant General Leonid Ivashov, President of the Academy of Geopolitical Problems, believes Washington will never be happy with any of Putin’s peace initiatives in Ukraine.

“The White House aims to set Russia and Ukraine at variance, stop Russian gas supplies to Europe and make the EU enter the common Euro Atlantic economic space under US rule,” he told ITAR-TASS.

The US economy can only remain afloat with large-scale conflicts and the EU in the common economic space with the US, the military expert says.

“Washington uses Ukraine as an instrument to realise its own economic interests. Hence the White House wish to isolate Russia,” Ivashov said. “As for Europe, far from all EU members are ready to publicly support US plans to control Ukraine. The key EU players, Germany and France, are aware of the danger posed by Washington’s ambition to dominate the European market.”

Director of the Institute of CIS Countries, Konstantin Zatulin, believes the West wants to harm Putin, whose popularity is at its peak in Russia and who has been recognised as one of the world’s most influential politicians after Crimea’s accession to the Russian Federation.

“If the Russian authorities now accepted Washington and Brussels' demands and entirely abandoned support for Ukraine’s Russian speakers, the West’s next ultimatum would inevitably be to give Crimea back to Ukraine,” the expert said in an interview with ITAR-TASS. “Washington wants Russia to be completely indifferent to the fate of the Russian-speaking population in Luhansk and Donetsk. Instead of supporting the negotiating process in eastern Ukraine, the West imposes total surrender on the leaders of Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics through its stooges in Kiev.”

However, contemporary history of Transdnistria, Karabakh and Cyprus indicates that even unrecognised republics can participate in negotiations, so West-and Kiev-imposed stamps of "separatists and terrorists" for the self-proclaimed republics are counter-productive, Zatulin believes.

“The West is trying to disrupt the trilateral talks on a peace settlement in Ukraine’s east that started on June 23. Washington aims to clear the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of the militia and turn Ukraine into Russia’s consolidated foe,” the expert told ITAR-TASS.

Russia is struggling to prevent realisation of this prospect, he added.

“If the government in Kiev escalates advance of its forces in eastern Ukraine once the truce has expired on June 27, Putin’s peace initiative to cancel use of armed forces (in Ukraine) will lose its meaning, and other measures will need to be sought,” Zatulin said.

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