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'US blocking gas settlement in Ukraine to prolong conflict'

Neil Clark is a journalist, writer and broadcaster. His award winning blog can be found at www.neilclark66.blogspot.com. Follow him on Twitter

Published time: June 12, 2014 16:02
An employee tightens the valve on a pipeline at the Bilche-Volytsko-Uherske underground gas storage facility, the largest in Europe, not far from the village of Bilche village, in the Lviv region of western Ukraine, on May 21, 2014. (AFP Photo / Alexander Zobin)

Washington is making Ukraine stall on a gas settlement agreement with Russia to try and draw out the conflict, journalist and broadcaster Neil Clark told RT. Moscow offered Ukraine a 25 percent discount on gas, but Kiev insists this is not enough.

RT: We heard just a few moments ago from President Putin, sending out a warning to Kiev. Do you think they are likely to listen?

Neil Clark: I’m not sure they will do actually. I think he’s absolutely right to send this warning out, but of course this is already being portrayed in the West as Russia trying to make threats and it’s quite remarkable, isn’t it? Ukraine has been offered a very generous discount on this and yet they still want more and it really is quite incredible the nerve and the Chutzpah of the Ukrainian government on this.

I think the situation is, if Russia offered a 20 percent discount, then Ukraine would want 25, if Russia offered 25, Ukraine would want 30. I don’t think any amount of discount will satisfy Ukraine. They’re spoiling for a fight here and they want to prolong this as long as possible and I think that we’ve got the United States behind this. I think the United States is using the Ukrainian government to try and provoke a conflict with Russia and prevent a settlement of this issue.

AFP Photo / Alexander Zobin

RT: Now despite the deadlock, the deadline for the first payment yet again has been extended. How long do you think this can go on for?

NC:
Well I think Russia has got to bring this to closure now, but of course there’s a trap here. If I behave in this way to my gas supplier, then my gas supply would have been cut off a long time ago. If I hadn’t paid the bill for several months now, and I was owing huge amounts, then British Gas or whoever would cut off my gas. But if Russia was to do this, if it were to cut off the gas to Ukraine, then of course this would be portrayed in the West as Russia using gas as a political weapon, so Russia has got to behave very carefully here.

This has gone on far too long and what is happening, I’m afraid, is the United States is getting the Ukrainian government to reject any compromise from Moscow and that’s what’s drawn this out so much.

RT:
Ukraine is getting an offer of almost 20 percent. Why do you think it’s not enough for them?

NC:
I think it would be enough for any normal country and of course it’s a very generous discount for what is a very anti-Russian government. It seems the Ukraine government believes they can provoke the Russian government as much as they can. They’re killing civilians in the east, but they still expect very generous discounts from Russia. As I said earlier that even if Russia went further and said 25 or 30 percent, I think that would still be rejected by the Ukrainian government because I don’t think they want settlement. They want to drag it out as long as long as possible to create this ongoing crisis. I think this will only end if there is some sanity coming in from the Western Powers, but I’m afraid the US doesn’t actually want a settlement on this issue.

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

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