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Russian standoff in ‘11th hour,’ says first post-Soviet Russian foreign minister

March 24th, 2014
04:19 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

The standoff between Russia, Ukraine, and the West has reached the “eleventh hour,” Andrei Kozyrev, the first post-Soviet Russian foreign minister, told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Monday.

“The [stakes are] still very, very high,” he said. “Let me just remind whoever concerned that Russia is still [a] nuclear superpower. So the [stakes] might be life and death. And maybe sooner than somebody is thinking.”

“It’s [the] eleventh hour for Russians, and for anybody else, to reconsider.”

A week after Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine, there is still considerable concern and uncertainty about what Russian President Vladimir Putin’s next move might be.

Russian military forces are massed along Ukraine’s eastern border. NATO’s top military official called them “very, very sizable and very, very ready.”

Ready for what exactly is not clear.

“We can only guess what actually happens next,” Kozyrev said. “It’s very much an impromptu kind of show.”

Few people are better positioned to analyze the situation than Kozyrev and Strobe Talbott, former deputy U.S. Secretary of State in the Clinton administration.

Together, they worked to manage Russia’s last big transition: the break-up of the Soviet Union and the birth of the Russian Federation.

Talbott chimed in on Kozyrev’s sentiment.

“I think [Putin] has been making this up as he goes along.”

In an interview with Amanpour last week, Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt said that Crimea was just the Russian president’s “opening game.”

Putin “is already going further than just in Crimea,” Talbott said. “Now that doesn’t mean that he has actually formally moved in, annexed territory, had an overt invasion.”

“But through all kinds of assets that Russia has inside of Ukraine, he is doing everything he can to shake the situation up, destabilize the country, so that he can have more leverage over what happens next.”

The choice Russia now finds itself, Kozyrev said, is a stark one.

“Now it’s the choice: Either to Europe or back to the USSR.”

Europe must stand with the United States, Kozyrev said, and make clear to “Russian oligarchs and their proxies” that they can no longer take the revenues abroad and leave the rest “with the Soviet Union.”

There is some strain of thought that with the fall of the Soviet Union, the West saw Russia as a “loser” – now, the thought goes, Putin is trying to regain Russia’s greatness.

“We did not regard the peoples of the former Soviet Union…as losers,” Talbott said. “Quite the opposite. We saw them as having seen a way that would actually protect their people from ending up, as it were, on the dust bin of history.”

Putin “wants to take the Russian Federation back to a system that has already been proved a failure.”

“I thought after the fall of the Soviet Union that we have to choose democracy and market economy. But competitive democracy and competitive economy.”

The Russian elite facing difficult reforms, chose to leave to go elsewhere, Kozyrev said.

“That is, take the cash and go to London or New York and leave the rest of it back home under the custody of the former security apparatus. And unfortunately that happened in the second part of the Yeltsin administration.”

“It’s time now to wake up – for all of us in Russia and for the West. And the sooner the better, because time is ticking.”


Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode • Russia • Ukraine
soundoff (56 Responses)
  1. Jay

    F**king white people want to die, and also destroy this world. Their high intelligent-ego don't want to give up. They are not aware of that the next war won't be of swords, maces, guns, karate, etc... it will be of HUGE ATOMIC BOMBS, no excuse. This is about SUPERPOWERS, not about tribes in Africa or Amazonia.

    March 24, 2014 at 5:24 pm | Reply
    • Nick

      @Jay, let me be the first to apologize for white people. However I think you are incorrect, this will definitely be a war of karate, and most probably maces, guns and swords, but not in that order. The fact that this is about SUPERPOWERS does not concern you. Only those with SUPERPOWERS know this. How did you find out? Were you on cahoots with snowden. SUPERPOWERS is supposed to be secret. SHHHHHH!!!

      March 24, 2014 at 5:37 pm | Reply
      • Light of God

        Game of thrones...

        March 24, 2014 at 8:55 pm |
    • alana

      First of all your post is a racist blurp. Second : lol been reading to much drama lately ?
      Really have no education ? Never heard of mutual assured destruction which is exactly why the next war will be fought with very traditional weapons. Pay attention in school next time , learn about history, learn about how world politics in an atomic age work, then speak. When i read statements like yours I start to really wonder are we really making progress ?

      March 24, 2014 at 10:54 pm | Reply
    • dhgfdgh

      تحذير
      قد تكون مراقب
      هل تستخدم امريكا و اسرائيل الانترنت بمواقعه ( يوتيوب, فيس بوك, تويتر,غرف الشات..) للتجسس!
      warning you may be watched
      do usa & israel use the internet ( youtube, facebook, twitter, chat rooms,ect...)to collect informations,,,,can we call that spying ?do they record&analyse everything on the internet?
      they ask for ur name,age,gender,occupation,place of work,ur mobile number.............ect, can they harm you using these informations?!
      تحذير
      قد تكون مراقب
      هل تستخدم امريكا و اسرائيل الانترنت بمواقعه ( يوتيوب, فيس بوك, تويتر,غرف الشات..) للتجسس!
      warning you may be watched
      do usa & israel use the internet ( youtube, facebook, twitter, chat rooms,ect...)to collect informations,,,,can we call that spying ?do they record&analyse everything on the internet?
      why they ask for ur name,age,gender,occupation,place of work,ur mobile number.............ect, can they use these informations in a way that may harm you?!
      تحذير قد تكون مراقب
      هل تستخدم امريكا و اسرائيل الانترنت بمواقعه ( يوتيوب, فيس بوك, تويتر,غرف الشات..) للتجسس!
      warning you may be watched
      do usa & israel use the internet ( youtube, facebook, twitter, chat rooms,ect...)to collect informations,,,,can we call that spying ?do they record&analyse everything on the internet?
      they ask for ur name,age,gender,occupation,place of work,ur mobile number.............ect, can they harm you using these informations?!

      March 25, 2014 at 5:42 am | Reply
    • E Holder

      Greetings to your brothers – Moe and Ron. You should listen to them.

      March 25, 2014 at 8:37 pm | Reply
  2. Western Propaganda

    Tymoshenko: "Kill all [derogatory term for ethnic Russians] with nukes"

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Te2E1R5YHBI&w=640&h=390]

    March 24, 2014 at 5:31 pm | Reply
    • Yawn

      So yeah, this audio reverses everything nefarious in Russia's actions, and must mean that Putin is awesome and tracing it way back, means that anyone objecting to Russia's behavior is wrong, and especially the USA. If in doubt when aligning yourself politically, just make the assumption that the USA is doing-evil-stuff-but-hoodwinking-everyone-ever. Point brilliantly made with a YouTube video. Carry on, Putin. Invade some more cities/countries and call people nazis. This video was key. Audio of a former prisoner, former politician who Ukrainians themselves don't trust enough to allow back into politics. You're disapproving of a person that Ukrainians also disapprove of. Desperate times...

      March 25, 2014 at 12:55 am | Reply
      • Joe

        Putin is not awesome enough. He needs to steal some oil first.

        March 25, 2014 at 2:11 am |
    • E Holder

      Oh look! She stuck a pretzel on her head. Funny lady yes?

      March 25, 2014 at 8:40 pm | Reply
  3. Western Propaganda

    Western cover up of Ukraine's neo-nazis like Svoboda on "Euromaidan":

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fWkfpGCAAuw&w=640&h=390]

    March 24, 2014 at 5:57 pm | Reply
    • Yawn

      You should really get into The Illuminati and Alex Jones. I swear, you don't even have to leave your basement. 9/11? The US dropped a decommissioned tank on that. If you turn the footage sideways, the smoke spells 'NIKF' which is almost Nike, and their company symbol is the sign of a missile that's been fired from a tank at two tall buildings (not a jetplane as the western media tried to show). Nike is an anagram of 'kein' which is a German word for for 'no' or 'none'.... and so is 'nein'. Germany suffered 11 losses in the 9-11 attacks. Nein 11. Everything that ever happened is a secret evil. Definitely into that. and appalling YouTube videos.

      March 25, 2014 at 1:16 am | Reply
    • Bryce O'Driscol

      This lady doctor, one piece of evidence, who verified this? Sounds like well planned russian agent provocateur stuff..she is a doctor and coudl say they were all the same bullets from the same guns/ guns? A forensic scientist is she? I am not at all impressed with such weak evidence, she said, she showed me...blah blah, get it all checked by international panel..

      March 25, 2014 at 7:12 am | Reply
    • E Holder

      Eastern cover-up of frozen noses!

      March 25, 2014 at 8:41 pm | Reply
  4. Western Propaganda

    No mention of Ukraine cutting off electricity to Crimea.

    March 24, 2014 at 6:28 pm | Reply
    • Yawn

      Cool idea! Ukraine should supply everything to Crimea, right?! Russia invade Ukraine and make an illegal landgrab when Ukraine is barely governed (and I'm sure you'll want to rephrase/soften/spin that truth to suit your agenda), nice, because it was benevolent act of emancipation... but your logic is that Ukraine should be humbled and supplying resources and utilities to this triumphant part of Russia. So, not only do Russia invade and still threaten and intimidate Ukraine, but you want Ukraine to fund that. Amazing. So... your name... 'Western Propaganda'... it's not like you have ANY moronic bias, is it? Stick to reading your paranoia blogs and falling short of sensible discourse in favor of posting YouTube videos everywhere in lieu of you being able to think, much less convey a decent, thinking concept of politics or humanitarianism... and because you despise your insanely paranoid, blog-fuelled notion of Western propaganda, but uhhh NOT YouTube... of California, USA.

      March 25, 2014 at 12:41 am | Reply
      • Western Propaganda

        There is no need for Russia to supply resources to Ukraine if there is no need for Ukraine to supply resources to Crimea.

        This won't change anything though. Ukrainian army is funded by SMS, their presidential candidate threatens genocide in leaked phone calls and revolutionary neo-nazi heroes already shooting each other. No law, only Anarchy. Ukraine is like that lost airliner, it is only a matter of time.

        March 25, 2014 at 6:17 pm |
  5. yawn

    Russia is a Eurasian country, not a European one, no matter how much some adventurous hegemons would have liked for Russia to lose her East and Central Asian territory back in 1991. Let it go and work with what's at hand.

    March 24, 2014 at 7:10 pm | Reply
  6. ToraFetah

    Watch the video posted by Western Propaganda!

    March 24, 2014 at 9:29 pm | Reply
  7. Chris Herz

    It is astounding that policy makers who understood the slightest thing about Russia have let matters go so far. 20 million Russians died in WWII to drive the West out of Ukraine and Crimea. No Russian leadership, of whatever political stripe can possibly accept the loss of their influence in territories that have been part of their sphere of influence before there was ever a USA. Trying to extend US and EU influence in these regions is a guarantee of problem after problem. It would be like the Russians trying to bring Canada, or maybe even New England into their orbit.

    March 24, 2014 at 9:51 pm | Reply
  8. RLTJ's

    What happens next?

    Russians now in the shoes of Israel and Kiev now acting like Syria or Iran.

    Russia in Crimea might do an Israel.

    March 24, 2014 at 9:54 pm | Reply
    • RLTJ's

      this comment belongs to a different article.

      March 24, 2014 at 11:26 pm | Reply
  9. Bridget82

    Putin, his Antiquated Russian Robber Barons and his mini minded "brown shirt" thugs are just discovering that this is not the end of the 19th Century/Early 20th Century.And it's not the World at the beginning of WWII...It's the 21st Century, the era of cell phones, a thousand satellites running around the planet and SEVEN BILLION people...Like it or lump it people, we're all in this together and there simply isn't a place for people who can't get along with their neighbors...No matter what the 'excuse.'..Only peace can bring prosperity...War -physical, mental or even financially- is only going to bring destruction to those who participate...The short term gains that Putin thinks he's made are going to dissolve into continued civil unrest, famine, starvation, sickness and illness...Just like North Korea currently is...He's a wannabe Stalin.

    March 25, 2014 at 12:12 am | Reply
    • eraserstp

      Yeah, the bombing other countries from the drones, the "collateral damage" and installing puppets by orchestrated coups is more 21st Century's style.

      March 25, 2014 at 3:12 am | Reply
      • Bridget82

        Sad and true, but doesn't change the reality that 'greedy capitalism' still rules human nature. And like a lot of wealthy Russian emigres, they're already here in the USA and Europe...lol.

        March 25, 2014 at 4:52 am |
  10. Sridhar

    Ukraine is being used by EU/USA and Russia as a playground for their political power games.If Russia is destabilizing Ukraine it is doing what the west has been doing over the years albeit with subtle means.With orchestrating the throw out of Yanukovch the west has firmly absorbed Ukraine in to its orbit and thereby delivered Russia its"Cuba crisis".Russia is no fool and the stakes are too high for it to relent.My sympathies to the real victims of this vicious game, the Ukranians.They need a Mannerheim to give them a sane council.

    March 25, 2014 at 12:55 am | Reply
  11. austine

    May god help us

    March 25, 2014 at 1:52 am | Reply
  12. crinnnge

    American foreign policy now
    How to sack dungeons and collect Gold
    -------
    Print free money – dollars –
    give this money via CIA-frontends to NGOs of developing nations who have 'assets'
    (gold, petroleum you know what)
    Ask NGOs to protest & demonstrate in streets
    Restrain local govt not to be violent
    Let US funded NGO demonstrations become violent
    Let them capture a building
    Drop a couple of sharp shooting sniper gunners from stealth/spy planes
    Lets these snipers shoot people dead on BOTH sides
    to make it look like a government job
    Slam the government for mass murders
    And declare its head of govt. as a mass murderer
    possibly bring him to ICC international criminal court
    and jail him for crimes against humanity
    (if they survived the remote controlled 'uprising' by CIA
    else let them be like col. Gaddafi of libya )
    While let the CIA funded NGOs people overturn the government
    and let them declare themselves as rulers
    Recognize these crooks as the new legitimate govt. under a secret deal
    The deal for power for them and & no harm in return for what?
    land a secret plane at night and ask them to load the plane with tons of Gold or paintings or whatever 'assets' and fly the treasure to America.

    America is proving itself as a street criminal who stays in shadows , puts a gun on you and asks you to hand over all your money .
    UN, ICC, ICJ, NATO, west all are puppets , parrots & poodles .
    Developing & poor countries, BEWARE, ban all the NGOs and pull out of UN or perish.

    March 25, 2014 at 3:35 am | Reply
    • Bridget82

      Wow! This is a major spy conspiracy theory that deserves applause for being highly imaginative. No one believes that Putin's "brown shirt blitzkrieg" into the Crimea was for any other reason than to line his own pocket .And that he did so without any insight into any sort of real outcome for the people of the region. Most American's couldn't give a hoot about the Crimea being Russian. We just don't want the silly jerk stirring up another European War of any kind....Even China would agree with that assessment...No repeats of Sino-Soviet conflicts allowed! lol

      March 25, 2014 at 5:13 am | Reply
  13. war coming

    Your choice is defect to Russia, China, or the USA. MY bet is USA would gsin 1.4 billion new citizens. .

    March 25, 2014 at 4:36 am | Reply
  14. Igor

    Most of you are too stupid to understand the policy of the United States. You believe everything you are told your media because you don’t know our language, you also don’t know the Ukrainian language and you can not compare that actually says Putin and that the fascist junta in Ukraine, and do all your media to justify sanctions against Russian financial assistance to Ukraine at your expense, and do everything to support the genocide of the Russian people in Ukraine for Understand exactly what you , ordinary citizens of Europe and the United States will pay out billions of dollars of his own pocket to help Ukraine , you will pay for the war and genocide of the Russian people in the Ukrainian land – and now you ask yourself, is it necessary?
    The U.S. wants the EU hands and due to the EU (they promised 1 billion total, the EU has 15 billion) to gain access to Russian oil and gas, forest, water and deposits of rare earth metals. And at the same time, on the ruined economies of EU countries Ukraine Russian post-Soviet space to build its resource colony in which people will live and work for food – that the U.S. is a democracy.

    March 25, 2014 at 5:00 am | Reply
    • Bridget82

      Ridiculous...You need to get out more and learn that the EU and the USA works on trade. We can't rescue the world, nor do we want to send our troops into mop up your abysmal behaviors...Still don't get it? We're turning back to Isolationism...Sort your own mess out..And remember-"don't mess with Texas."

      March 25, 2014 at 5:41 am | Reply
      • answer

        what is this texas: meaningless province, backyard of US. texas plays zero role in the world.
        Ukraine is a country! perhaps better go to shool

        US never rescued world, they just kill people around the world and abuse poor countries, ignore huma rights. Dont forget Guantanamo ! US sponsored Sadaam and produced Bin Laden. What an ironie, they got own creature back.

        March 25, 2014 at 7:05 pm |
    • ok

      Learn English first. Then quit dreaming. People are sick of your pro-Russian nightmares.

      March 25, 2014 at 5:45 am | Reply
  15. war coming

    Not to worry.. as the old war prone generation dies off and is replaced by an open minded well traveled generation then we will see mankind prosper or perish.. drink more vodka

    March 25, 2014 at 5:28 am | Reply
  16. war coming

    Thieves. .. Russian s have no honor in this theft. . Only USA seems to have a moral compass to free all men and women from their captors.

    March 25, 2014 at 5:34 am | Reply
  17. ashok

    The confrontation between Russia and the West is nowhere as stark as it was during the Cold War. From its much diminished post Soviet Union status, Russia is trying rebuild its role as an important stakeholder in the global system, with a special concern for its near abroad. That is a legitimate ambition the US and the EU should not find impossible or even unreasonable. Equally true that a Russia overly dependent on natural resources, with a modern economy not run along rule of law lines, will not reach its true potential, as China has, before it started bullying its neighbours.

    March 25, 2014 at 6:00 am | Reply
  18. war coming

    USA wins.. I see USA t-shirts worn all over the world versus one Russian t-shirt, and zero Chinese t-shirts. :-)

    March 25, 2014 at 6:21 am | Reply
  19. Toppies Van Vuuren

    In the war that will end all wars we are taught that Modern day Russia, Iran and 5 other nations will team up to attack Isreal in a bid to crush it but instead they will be crushed supernaturally. The loose in terms of human lives and equipment will be unprecedented.
    Do Russians ever ask Putin about his contradictory statements and actions since the start of this Crimea thing?

    March 25, 2014 at 6:29 am | Reply
  20. Toppies Van Vuuren

    Peace is valuable, indispensible actually for us mere People who are flawed. Part of our problem is Leaders who don't know they are flawed or decide they are right/correct despite their inherent shortfalls. You do not use your own wisdom to govern People! NO!

    March 25, 2014 at 6:43 am | Reply
  21. bremont

    the main problem here is washington, nobody expects a 200 years nation to be wise, however the real problem is the $, (as a reserve currency) not the domestic dollar..americans in fact are quite uneducated and unsophisticated, so it is easy for the media to brainwash them, americans exist to die for wars that are useless pay taxes to israel, eat hot dogs, and die, like a hot dog.. they are just dogs if you like, dogs because of themselves, not because of nature, vietnam, iraq, afghanistan, syria,libya, this are wars made for the $ (the currency use as reserve currency) investors use the $ as a reserve currency to get rich, banks do the same, financiers do the same; the american dogs use the domestic $, which is not the same, so the americans dogs die for the $ reserve currency, not the us $, the green bag, if you like.reason why to save america liberate the american dogs " "you folks" and liberate the rest of the planet from this plague call wall street , main media brainwash the $ as a reserve currency must die, end as the petrodollars,this will collapse investors , olygargs, looters, aristocratic education, in short is the only way out from the american spiritual intellectual iron curtain which imprison them. the same fact exist in europe only they are lambs, rather than dogs like you americans. "hope you understand reality for once, remember LINCOLN and the green bag, well you are there now.

    March 25, 2014 at 8:04 am | Reply
    • Bridget82

      Another Nihilistic foreign diatribe by someone who's obviously never been to the USA...You really need to visit here!

      March 25, 2014 at 5:48 pm | Reply
  22. dannelson1959

    WE should let Putin know that his bullying won't stop gays and neither will it stop the free world!

    March 25, 2014 at 3:14 pm | Reply
    • ivanovfromsu

      > won't stop gays

      Sorry, but won't stop from what? :))

      March 25, 2014 at 6:36 pm | Reply
  23. Western Propaganda

    Today is 15 years since Western mass murder campaign in Yugoslavia.

    March 25, 2014 at 6:20 pm | Reply
  24. Western Propaganda

    Pro-Westerners from Euromaidan beating up a doctor in Ulianovka, near Kirovograd. His crime: being appointed by the elected president.

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QUO5qLHBqN8&w=640&h=390]

    March 25, 2014 at 6:35 pm | Reply
  25. Western Propaganda

    Pro-Western "medic" refuses assistance to a policeman beaten up by Right Sector neo-nazis on Euromaidan. These policemen later die of their wounds.

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uZmk2qSVU6U&w=640&h=390]

    March 25, 2014 at 6:49 pm | Reply
  26. ivanovfromsu

    Very nice company indeed.

    What a vulgar woman! Amanpour needs "guests" for one purpose only – to be a kind of "decoration" for her own statements. She doesn't care what they really think or say as she already-know-everything person.

    Kozyrev – a peace of sheet hated in Russia for his sagging and pleasing "the west" and all harm he made to Russia. He joined Communist Party at the age of 24 and was a member till the end in 1991. So go figure what kind of democrat he is. Three times married – last time on his assistant 17 years younger...

    Mr Talbot is a liar – "we didn't treat Russians as losers". Yes you did! That's why you bombed Serbia. And only Russian nukes stopped you from humanitarian bombing of Russia.

    March 25, 2014 at 6:50 pm | Reply
    • Bridget82

      Last Post...LMAO...You've got to be kidding!

      March 26, 2014 at 12:48 am | Reply
  27. Western Propaganda

    Pro-Western Right Sector neo-nazis terrorizing Lviv

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S_cmxeT03bs&w=640&h=390]

    March 25, 2014 at 6:54 pm | Reply
    • Bridget82

      Pathetic..Labeling a bunch of poor skinny disenfranchised illiterate teenagers as neo nazis is plain nuts. There are always those -right and left- who think that if they scream loud enough that their 'squeaky wheel will get the oil'...Only through peace can lasting prosperity be spread out to those who need it... Civil unrest, famine, starvation, concentration camps that oppress "THEM'-whoever the designated "them" is, that's all this kind of behavior ever really achieves..Sad to see the region allowing itself to degenerate into such a filthy mess..

      March 26, 2014 at 12:44 am | Reply
      • Erm...

        Right Sector are Neo-Nazis, probably worse than Svoboda and the flags they are wielding in the video are the white supremacist celtic cross flags. These are the storm troops of maidan that brought down the elected governments. The only thing pathetic is your ignorance of the matter.

        March 26, 2014 at 11:06 am |
      • Erm...

        They are also an official political party in the new self-appointed government of Ukraine now, imagine that.

        March 26, 2014 at 11:11 am |
      • whocares

        Kids who kill. Well in US they would get death sentence. A praise in Europe such ancient ideas are gone.
        Bad to see another country totally destroyed by US grabby politics who hates other nations and other religions. God forgive America.

        March 26, 2014 at 11:50 am |
      • Bridget82

        REPLY TO "ERM"
        Just don't get it, do you...You created this problem and continue to do so. When you start alienating the youth of your country they will kick and slap back at you the minute they get a chance...The lousy economics of your leaders are responsible and it will continue to degenerate if they keep pursuing old WWII tactics...IOh and I am a huge fan of drone warfare!...Just make sure you're not in the way of "sanctions". Anyone who thinks Texas is a 'little place' needs their brain examined...LMAO.

        March 26, 2014 at 5:50 pm |
  28. Ardez

    USA Empire of evil and lies

    March 27, 2014 at 1:54 am | Reply

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