Putin Warns against Racist, Anti-Semitic Ukraine Opposition; Arlacchi Echoes

After Frosty EU-Russia Summit, Putin Warns Against Racist, Anti-Semitic Opposition Forces in Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin held a press conference in Brussels, after the EU-Russia summit meeting, which had been characterized by major disagreements over Ukraine. He warned the EU that the opposition forces they are backing are being taken over by racist, anti-Semitic elements.

“For example,” Putin reported, “a priest in Western Ukraine was calling on the crowd to go to Kiev and topple the Government so as to—using his own words—prevent negroes, russkies, and yids from telling us what to do in our own home. First of all, it is astounding to hear this from a religious figure. Second, this is radical nationalism of a kind that is totally unacceptable in the civilized world.”

Putin also stated that Russia would not cancel its economic deal with Ukraine (both the $15 billion loan and the gas price arrangement) just because a new government will be formed with the resignations of Prime Minister Azarov. But, he emphasized, the deal is off if Ukraine signs with the EU: the agreement is contingent on any new Ukrainian government using those funds “to generate a positive development effect,” although “we, unlike the IMF, did not strictly designate the terms of this loan on paper,” Putin stated. He added that if Ukraine is pulled into the European Union, “then we cannot maintain our preferential regime.”

Putin was also very sharply critical of EU meddling, commenting on Catherine Ashton’s trip there yesterday: “The more intermediaries there are, the more problems there are. I am not sure Ukraine needs intermediaries.”

The New York Times coverage notes that the EU may have trouble stepping in to replace the Russian deal, quoting Michael Emerson, former EU envoy to Russia and current European Policy Center analyst, saying: “If and when Yanukovych gets thrown out, the new administration will come to EU for help. Now is the time for us to step up our contribution.” The problem for the EU is, “what it can offer beyond just words of encouragement,” the Times writes. “He [Emerson] noted that one possibility is for Europe to join the IMF in financing a long-stalled assistance package for Ukraine.”

Arlacchi: Ukraine Protest Is Controlled by Nazis, Tells EU ‘Hands Off’

Member of the European Parliament Pino Arlacchi, former UN director of the UN Office of Drug Control and Crime Prevention (ODCCP), told Italian Radio 24 in an interview on Jan. 27 that the protest in Ukraine is in the hands of the Nazis, and he called on the EU to stop interfering in the country.

Asked whether he thinks that Europe is not adequately supporting protesters “who demand Europe” in Ukraine, Arlacchi answered:

“It does not seems at all that they are demanding ‘Europe’ at this time. The street is in the hands of pro-Nazi radicals and of Svoboda nationalists, who I do not think care much about Europe.” As the interviewer insisted on “one part of the opposition being pro-Europe,” Arlacchi answered: “To be in favor of the EU means they must also be in favor of methods and values in the EU. To go into the street with weapons, shooting, and destroying public buildings, and then demanding that the government do what they say, does not seem to me very European.”

“I am not in favor of the Ukrainian government, but I also do not fall into the trap of thinking that a violent street has the right to overthrow a democratically elected government — the elections were regular, we watched them. I can’t like a mob claiming to change the rules of the democratic game by force. They can demand new elections, they can demand a resignation of the government, they can demand everything that it’s right to demand, but they must do it with methods with are coherent with the rules of democracy.”

Radio 24 pointed out that this morning [Jan. 27], Italian Foreign Minister Emma Bonino said that Ukrainian President Yanukovych’s position is unsustainable.

Arlacchi replied: “I would say that we should try to interfere much less in the internal affairs of other countries. This European intervention in Ukraine has been a disaster, because it has split the country. It has set the whole anti-Russian part of the country against the other half, which is pro-Russian, without a precise idea except a continuation of the Cold War. I have insisted and continually insist, together with many other colleagues, that to split a country in this way is not consistent with the European message, is not in the interest of Europe, and that we should build a new policy towards the East, based on dialogue and inclusion also of Russia, instead of behaving as if we were in the worst time of the Cold War.”

As UN anti-drug director, Arlacchi started a program to eradicate opium plantations in Afghanistan in 1998, and replace them with food crops. The program, implemented in collaboration with the Taliban government, significantly reduced the production of narcotics, until the Anglo-U.S. war in Afghanistan started in the wake of 9/11 and opium production zoomed again.

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