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Anti-Russian rants are just PR ahead of EU parliamentary poll – Russian officials

Published time: March 03, 2014 10:04
Pro-Russian activists hold a giant Russian flag as they rally in Simferopol, the administrative center of Crimea, on March 1, 2014. (AFP Photo / Genya Savilov)

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

The various anti-Russian statements voiced by EU officials should be taken with a grain of salt as they are just attempting to lure voters ahead of the May poll, and are not interested in Ukraine actually joining the EU, a senior Russian senator holds.

All this hysteria in the European Union are nothing more than a PR bubble created in the lead-up to European Parliamentary elections on May 25,” Andrey Klimov, a deputy head of the Federation Council’s committee for international relations, told Russian mass circulation daily Izvestia.

All forecasts say that its next composition will have a lot of Euroskeptics and the current commissioners headed by President Jose Manuel Barroso will have to resign. For this reason their current statements should be divided by at least two – people often lie during election campaigns,” Klimov said.

The comment was made ahead of the urgent meeting of foreign ministers of the EU countries dedicated to the current situation in Ukraine and the possible measures against Russia that had already announced its readiness to protect its citizens, ethnic Russians and Russian-speakers caught in the Ukrainian turmoil.

Other European reaction to the Russian political support of the Eastern regions of Ukraine ranged from statements of concern to recalling of ambassadors from Russia to a request for an extraordinary session of the NATO council.

Klimov noted that it was very unlikely that EU officials would continue the current course of supporting the ‘Maidan’ authorities in Kiev after the May elections are over – according to the Russian senator, the realists among European politicians understand very well that the European economy cannot afford another hanger-on.

The senator also commented on the threats of economic sanctions against Russia made by US officials and politicians, such as former Ambassador to Moscow Michael McFaul. Klimov noted that the current trade turnover between the US and Russia is far from anything serious and such sanctions on the part of the US would not do Russia any sufficient harm.

On the other hand, the mutual dependence between Russia and European Union is very strong and there is no common position among EU members on the current crisis, the politician added. This means that the European countries can soon start separate talks with Russia, Klimov concluded.

In the current situation I would recommend that Brussels and Washington introduce sanctions against each other. The US must answer for instigating a civil war and adding to the explosive situation in Europe. A number of EU countries should be made responsible for opening the Pandora’s box by violating the February 21 agreement of Ukrainian stabilization,” he noted.

Many top-level Russian politicians observed in public addresses that no one in Russia was interested in war with its neighbor. Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin said during a Sunday televised panel discussion that Russian diplomats strongly opposed the unfounded accusations of war-mongering.

We will support all forces that favor the strengthening of bilateral relations between our countries, especially now when the European stability depends on these relations. Western politicians who are currently cursing us must understand this,” Karasin stated.

In the same program the head of the Russian upper house, Valentina Matvienko, reiterated her position that only Ukrainian people can decide who will run their state and this decision must be made through an honest, clear, transparent and lawful elections. The head of Russian senate also supported the idea of rendering financial and humanitarian aid to the Ukrainian people.

The chairman of the State Duma committee for CIS affairs, Leonid Slutsky, said that all Russia had done in Crimea was defend sites belonging to its Navy, but it can also extend this protection to everyone who asks for this as this is a noble thing to do.

The Russian upper house has approved Vladimir Putin’s request to sanction the military involvement in the standoff between pro-Russian population of the Eastern regions of Ukraine and the new authorities in Kiev. However, Putin not only has not given orders to the troops, but according to presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov, has not yet taken the decision that such involvement was necessary.

On Sunday Vladimir Putin spoke with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the two leaders agreed to immediately establish a commission of enquiry as well as a contact group, possibly under the direction of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.