14 December 2013, 11:43

Crisis in Ukraine orchestrated, West lost sense of reality - Lavrov

Crisis in Ukraine orchestrated, West lost sense of reality - Lavrov

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Saturday said that Western countries appear to have lost "their sense of reality" over the pro-EU protests in Ukraine, which he called the work of provocateurs. The future of Ukraine and its accession to the Customs Union, the problem of the nuclear Iran, elimination of chemical weapons in Syria and the issue of Edward Snowden’s extradition – these varied themes were key issues of Sergey Lavrov’s interview with the Russia 24 TV channel.

"There is no reason for demonstrations", - that’s how Sergey Lavrov comments on the current situation in Ukraine. The Russian Foreign Minister believes it was "orchestrated" - of course, not by the authorities of the country, who adopted a legitimate and sovereign decision.

He said the "frenzied" reaction to Ukraine's scrapping of the Association Agreement with the European Union last month was a disproportionate response to a "perfectly normal" decision.

"What did the government of (President Viktor) Yanukovych do? Did it quit the non-proliferation treaty? Did it announce that it is creating a nuclear bomb? Or maybe it executed somebody?"

"There is a street protest on such a scale and with such harsh slogans, as if the country has declared war on some peaceful state against the wishes of the Ukrainian people," Lavrov said.

"That doesn't fit into the framework of normal human analysis. I have no doubt that provocateurs are behind it. The fact that our Western partners seem to have lost their sense of reality makes me very sad."

Ukraine has rejected a broad trade and political association agreement with the EU after citing the economic damage it would suffer from a loss in trade with Russia.

The abrupt U-turn sparked the biggest wave of protests since the 2004 pro-democracy Orange Revolution in the ex-Soviet country.
Lavrov said in his interview that the EU is "luring" Ukraine and other Eastern European countries because of their lucrative markets, "which would be flooded by more competitive EU products and wipe out their industries."

"Now our EU partners are worried that such cheap, almost free, added profit... is slipping away."

Another reason for the West's reaction is ideological, he said.

"Those who... set severing our neighbours from us - even if it was artificial and by using blackmail - as the main goal of the eastern partnership project saw that it's not that easy."

The Minister notes that the fate of Russia's closest neighbours is in their own hands, but the doors of the Customs Union are already open for them. According to Lavrov, this structure will help its participants to prepare for competition in the free trade zone.

The Minister also dwelled on the recent scandal between Moscow and Washington. The matter concerns our diplomats in the United States. It turned out that about 50 of them were understating their incomes for the sake of health benefits. However, it is not clear why the United States started talking about this right now. Several employees of the diplomatic corps implicated in the scandal have already returned to their Homeland. The rest will arrive in Russia in the near future.

As for the situation in Syria, Lavrov emphasized that the terms of the international conference on the Arab Republic will be determine by the United Nations Organization. But the effectiveness of the negotiations depends on all the parties. In Syria it depends not only on the government but also on the opposition. Some of its representatives are still uncertain about their demands. The Minister notes: some groups are not subject to political opponents of Bashar al-Assad and wage their own war by means of terrorist acts.

Meanwhile, the Iranian nuclear problem, according to Sergey Lavrov, is now as close to resolution as never before. But it requires a collective work in the framework of the recently achieved Geneva agreements. Not only Iran has obligations, but also those countries that unilaterally imposed sanctions on it. Now it’s time to loosen them. The Minister also told about what was expected from Iran. Finally, the Minister has not bypassed the scandal around Edward Snowden. The Foreign Minister noted that in this situation Moscow acted strictly within the legal framework and was guided by the absence of an extradition treaty. According to Sergei Lavrov, Russia did not forget about the moral aspect of the case. At home, in the United States, Snowden would hardly face a fair trial.

US waited with prosecution of Russian diplomats for 10 years for case to be "louder" – Lavrov

The US accused Russian diplomats of fraud with medical insurances only now, ten years later because they wanted to accumulate more cases for the story to sound "louder" said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in an interview to 'Russia-24'.

According to the US media, the fraud scheme was used for several years, but the information was made public only in December of this year. "If the diplomats are seen for misconducting the laws of the host country, what is the point of waiting for ten years? " asks the Russian Minister. "Maybe they wanted to accumulate more cases so that the number would be more impressive. If they had told us in 2004 that one person wants to get what he shouldn’t, we would have probably done something with it. But they have accumulated nearly fifty people, probably in order to make it sound louder", stated Lavrov.

The US authorities have accused of fraud with medical insurances a number of Russian diplomats and their families, all in all 49 people. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara, claims that Russian diplomats allegedly showed lower profit in order to acquire the Medicaid program.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, Sergei Ryabkov, earlier told RIA Novosti that Moscow considers the accusations against Russian diplomats as the attempt to gain revenge for issues that are not related to bilateral relations between Moscow and Washington.

Voice of Russia, RIA, Vesti

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