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By Madalena Araujo, CNN
The EU will stand united in keeping up its pressure on Moscow, the EU Foreign Affairs Chief Federica Mogherini told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Wednesday.
“The main point that is surprising and probably also affecting the Russian leadership is our unity, the impossibility to divide us, and I count on us to stay united.”
Mogherini told Amanpour that while “it would be naive and probably stupid to say that there are no differences among Europeans,” they’ve “managed, over the last year, to keep united and take all our decisions by unanimity, because we know that our decisions are not linked to single member states' interests, but they are linked to a principle that we cannot accept the violation of international rules. This is the basic core principle of the European Union.”
Mogherini, who took up the lead role in November, came under fire this week after a paper she circulated was widely seen as a suggestion to ease sanctions on Russia.
Putin critic and former Russian oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky wants regime change in his home country but not through a revolution, he told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in an interview that aired Thursday.
“Without a doubt, I do want a regime change in Russia. I think that my country doesn't deserve a new era of authoritarianism. But at the same time, I don't want a revolution.”
The former Yukos oil tycoon added that, if he could, he "would of course do everything to ensure that the regime change take place as softly as possible, because I consider that it's not worth wasting human lives on what should in fact be a normal procedure of replacing one regime with another in the country.”
“Of course we do understand perfectly well that at some point the situation may explode and then, of course, nobody physically would be able to give anybody any kind of guarantees.”
A key minister under Ukraine’s ousted President Viktor Yanukovych told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in an interview that aired Thursday that “Donbass has always been and is part of Ukraine.”
The now self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Luhansk in Ukraine’s eastern Donbass region have been the worst hit areas by the conflict in the country, which started after Russia annexed Crimea in March.
“I think the Eastern Donbass should decide for themselves where they should belong. What is important is to hear Donbas today, its decision, its voice should be important,” Oleksandr Klymenko, Former Ukrainian Minister of Revenues and Duties, told Amanpour.
“But it's important to note that Donbas is not against Ukraine. But Donbass is not happy with the government in the last 23 years. The government has been - is the key perpetrator of everything that's happened. This is what they should be held responsible for.”
There is ostensibly a ceasefire in Ukraine, but since the Minsk Accord was signed in September, the OSCE says it's been breached some two and a half thousand times. There have been more than 4,000 deaths since April, according to the U.N..
As the deadly battle unfolds on the ground, a heated propaganda war is also being waged. Russia recently launched its “Sputnik” offensive, a new state-run international media outlet named after the soviet space program. This follows long time Kremlin-funded RT and other, state-run TV.
Christiane Amanpour on Thursday spoke with opposing views on the subject – Former Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov and RT Host Anissa Naouai.
Click above to watch.
By Henry Hullah, CNN
NATO and Western sanctions are not doing enough to deter the Russian policies that they were made to target, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius told CNN's Christiane Amanpour on Tuesday.
“We are reacting, in my view, a bit too slowly and missing targets because we have this list of so-called targeted persons - but more than half of them have nothing to do with the decision making process in Russia.”
“We’re really not acting enough in my view.”
The Baltic nations of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia are a lot closer to the issue than other NATO members. They are tiny neighbors to a giant, and increasingly aggressive, Russia.
Even as the interview came to air there was news of Lithuanian fighter jets having to scramble to intercept Russia fighter jets that flew close to Baltic air space.
“Yes, they scramble, they react when it’s necessary,” Linkevicius told the program.
“Often the Russians are not violating any rules,”
“They can fly over the neutral waters, they can fly by the border - but look, I would compare it with the car moving along the highway without lights at two hundred miles per hour.”
“It’s really very dangerous. It’s not just increasing tensions but also a threat to civilization.”
With incidents requiring the scrambling of Lithuanian jets becoming no less frequent, what action can be taken to encourage Putin to abandon these policies?
So far sanctions have punished the Russian economy, fueling the dramatic fall of the Ruble, but they haven’t deterred the Russian policy that they’ve been targeting. What can be done in the Baltics and beyond?
“We have to stay united.”
“It’s really the only way to keep the pressure, and on the other hand we have to help the Ukrainian government because they are facing aggression from the outside. It’s a not a civil war as some are trying to present. It’s from outside. It wouldn't help them to seal the border.”
“It’s very difficult to discuss these issues, to negotiate, when you are denying what is obvious and sometimes some lies are spread and this is dangerous.”
Russia will not let the Ukrainian people freeze, Russia's Permanent Representative to the OSCE, Andrey Kelin, told CNN’s Michael Holmes, in for Christiane Amanpour, on Wednesday.
Russia cut off gas supplies to Ukraine in June citing unpaid bills and exacerbating already existing tensions between the two countries, triggered by Russia’s annexation of Crimea in February. The time to resolve the gas dispute is now running out with temperatures in Kiev already falling below zero.
“What I can absolutely guarantee is that Russia will never stop supplying gas to Ukraine because we have a lot of people from Ukraine in Russia, and it is impossible that we let Ukrainian people freeze. This is out of the question,” Kelin said.
“On the other hand,” the Ambassador warned, “we cannot always supply gas for credit to Ukraine, which happened in the past. Ukraine still did not pay, for instance, last three months or the year and we expect this payment.”
Ukraine’s parliamentary elections took place on Sunday and, for the first time since the country’s independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, the Communist Party will be left out from parliament.
Despite the “omissions and violations” committed during the election, Kelin remarked, “I think that we are going to recognize the outcome when all calculations will be finalized.”
While the world is pre-occupied trying to find a way to stop ISIS, on Russia's border, war games and psychological warfare continue.
Apart from its obvious attempt to halt Ukraine's tilt westwards, worrying new questions now about Russia’s aim – and game – in the Baltic States.
What happened in Estonia last month reads like a John le Carre novel. One of their intelligence agents was snatched in a cross border raid by Russian FSB agents, and recently paraded on Russian TV as a spy.
Is President Vladimir Putin testing NATO? Seeing how far he can probe one of its own?
CNN’s Christiane Amanpour spoke with Estonian Foreign Minister Urman Paet on Wednesday about whether the country feared the "Ukraine treatment."
A Moscow art exhibit is celebrating President Vladimir Putin's birthday by portraying him as a hero of mythic proportions.
By Mick Krever, CNN
The new NATO Secretary General, Former Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, emphasized his long and productive relationship with Russia in an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, a day after he took office.
“As a Norwegian politician in Norway, a country bordering Russia, I have developed a working relationship with Russia,” he said. “And we were able also during the coldest period of the Cold War to work with Russia on issues like fishery, energy, environment.”
When Stoltenberg was chosen for the position earlier this year, Russian President Vladimir Putin told Russian State TV that he had “very good relations, including personal relations” with the former Norwegian premier.
“This is a very serious, responsible person,” President Putin said, “but we’ll see how our relations develop with him in his new position.”
Pro-Russian separatists will “liberate” the eastern Ukrainian city of Mariupol, Russia's Permanent Representative to the OSCE, Andrey Kelin, anticipated in an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour Friday.
Ukrainian forces are working to fortify the city; they claim that Russian intelligence groups have been spotted in the area.
Mariupol is “the second-biggest city in Donetsk Oblas, probably, and I believe that they are going to liberate,” Kelin said.
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