15:12 Apr. 24, 2016
Andrei Kozyrev criticizes Putin's annexation of Crimea and war in Donbas
Former Russian Foreign Affairs Minister Andrei Kozyrev accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of illegally invading Crimea and fomenting war in the Donbas region.
Referring to the 90s, the ex-top diplomat told about Russia-Ukraine agreements in an interview with Voice of America.
"The countries concluded the agreements to envisage that the Soviet Union was collapsing in accordance with the boundaries existing at the time. After I resigned, some additional international treaties were signed and should also be adhered to. It is unfortunate that the Russian government decided to violate these international obligations. I think sooner or later Russia will have to return to the legal field. Then, if Ukraine wants, Crimea's fate will be discussed. But to make it happen, the relationship (between the countries) has to be re-considered and a different government should probably be in Moscow," Kozyrev said.
He added that the war in eastern Ukraine is a separate issue but is the same in its essence: "It is violation of the existing borders, invasion through non-regular forces though, but support of irregular forces."
The former Russian diplomat added that NATO had not been Kremlin's enemy, but now the Alliance has to protect its member-countries against Russia: "For all the years of its existence, NATO did nothing wrong with Russia. When we followed a peaceful course and attempted to introduce democracy in Russia, we had excellent relations with the NATO countries, NATO helped us in every way," Kozyrev said.
Kozyrev also criticized statements by Russian authorities that some Nazis allegedly seized power in Ukraine.
"Russia says that it rises from its knees, and all the while it complains that somebody hurts it, and it is surrounded by enemies. It makes me deeply sad. In my time, the situation was more complicated, because oil prices were low, stability was a big problem, and it was a period of transition, but still we did not complain. I never said that we were surrounded by enemies, never slammed Kyiv's authorities, despite the tough debate we had (with Ukraine). If we say that Kyiv is taken by enemies or fascists, it will insult Russian people, let alone Ukrainians ", Kozyrev said.
Earlier, Lilia Shevtsova, a prominent Kremlinology expert and a senior fellow of the Foreign Policy Program at Brookings Institution, claims Russian President Vladimir Putin shelved the idea of Novorossiya after he had to face sanctions from the West, and fierce resistance from Ukrainians in the east.