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‘No chance of Russia being able to back down on Ukraine’

Published time: March 03, 2014 09:38
Pro-Russian protesters wave a Russian flag and hold a sign (C) reading "Our brothers are in Russia, we are slaves in Europe" during a rally in front of the regional administration building in the industrial Ukrainian city of Donetsk on March 1, 2014. (AFP Photo / Alexander Khudoteply)

The West organized the coup in Ukraine and they can make this very ugly, but there is no chance of Russia being able to back down, Danny Welch, blogger and anti-war activist, told RT.

Russia’s dispatch of a stabilization force in Crimea on official request from local authorities was harshly criticized by US Secretary of State John Kerry over weekend, threatening to isolate Russia economically and politically and warning of potential asset freezes and visa bans.

You just don’t invade another country on phony pretext in order to assert your interests,” John Kerry said during an interview with NBC’s Meet the Press. “This is an act of aggression that is completely trumped up in terms of its pretext. It’s really 19th-century behavior in the 21st century.

Welch says, the Kerry’s statement has an obvious weak point.

RT: John Kerry's criticism appeared very harsh. But will Washington follow through with concrete action?

Danny Welch: The harshness of his [Kerry’s] reaction is indicative of the weakness of his position. In the first place it is absolutely surreal for the Secretary of State of the US to state that a country doesn't have a right to invade other countries without a pretext, when right at the moment his own government is involved in up to a dozen countries. And I think the whole world thinks it sounds crazy except for the Western press.

RT: Western countries back Kiev ... are we seeing a self-appointed government receiving international recognition?

DW: I'm not sure that’s international recognition. The Western powers always use a term international community when they mean themselves and a few of their closest friends. I think what remains to be seen is Russia and China - they are the two strongest members of the UN Security Council. They'll obviously withhold recognition. Turkey basically agrees with Russia on the Crimean issue.

The coup is unraveling. The Navy commander defected and swore his leniency to Crimea. It's not a tenable position for anyone involved, I think [the West] will try and they have military muscle, if they really want to start a war they can. [The West] started the coup, they funded the coup, they organized the coup - they can make this very ugly. But there is no chance of Russia being able to back down, so I don't think they can do much.

Pro-Russian activists hold a giant Russian flag near a statue of Lenin as they rally in Simferopol, the administrative center of Crimea, on March 1, 2014. (AFP Photo / Genya Savilov)

RT: Washington and Brussels appear to be ignoring the nationalists and extremists within the Kiev government. Why is that?

DW: Because it's supremely embarrassing. I was in Kiev and in Moscow many years ago, and one of the things that you can see when you’re on the ground there, that you are never taught in American schools, is the overwhelming pride at having defeated the fascists, and having pushed back the Nazis, and at what an incredible sacrifice of tens of millions of people for the Soviet Union and how important that is to the national identity. And now to have these Western powers actually paying fascists, paying neo-Nazis, to seize power in a country on Russia's border is simply too evil and too embarrassing to admit, and so they'll just continue to deny it.

There were also reports that neo-Nazis from all over Europe are descending on Kiev to join the mobs that have been patrolling the city with bats. It's not law, it's not order, it's a lawless coup and it should be scary to anyone who is invested in peace and order.

RT: Many Russians live in Ukraine, especially in Crimea. Does Moscow have the right to protect them in the way it is proposing?

DW: There is no question either under 1994 agreement, under any sense of moral duty, any sense of national pride or simply as a matter of being the power in the region that has power to prevent chaos. There is no question that Russia is within her right to protect these people in this way. Absolutely no question. The only people who can shriek about the international law ironically are the people who have been violating it without cease for at least the last 15 years flagrantly and on view for all the world [to see].

RT: Where will things go from here?

DW: My prediction is that Russia will come out of this better than they went in. Crimea is basically is a de-facto secession already. The Western Ukraine is a basket case, the EU never wanted them. And they are going to scream when austerity comes in and ruins their lives much more than Yanukovich ever could have. It is an absolute disaster for the West, a security disaster for Russia, and there is no way for it to end well except for the eventual peaceful partition of the country.

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