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Putin has no reason to interfere in Ukraine, says former Kremlin adviser

February 25th, 2014
04:13 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

Russian President Vladimir Putin has no incentive to interfere militarily in Ukraine and cannot be blamed for “inflaming the situation” that led to the ouster of President Viktor Yanukovych, former Kremlin adviser Alexander Nekrassov told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Tuesday.

“Why would Putin want to have instability in Ukraine, which is bordering Russia?”

“The infighting has started” in the new interim government, Nekrassov said. “It will continue.”

Nekrassov worked for President Boris Yeltsin during the massive upheaval of the 90s, and more recently he's been an advisor to the Russian Government on closer ties with the west.
Ukraine remains in the grip of crisis three days after a popular uprising drove President Viktor Yanukovych from power.

The opposition has again delayed naming a new interim government after pledging to do so Tuesday.

There are discouraging reports of political disarray and parliamentary squabbling, and the ousted president is still missing.

Yanukovych “had only one year left in office,” Nekrassov said. “He would have probably lost that election. Why was there need for sudden change of power?”

“You know, President Hollande of France is even less popular. We don’t call on him to be removed.”

Yanukovych, more popular than Hollande?

As if to say, ‘You made your bed, now lie in it,’ Nekrassov said that Russia cannot be blamed for not worrying about instability in the new Ukrainian government.

“I’m sorry, they decided to take power. They ousted an elected president. He can be a bad president, some people say, but he was elected.”

Near-constant protests in Ukraine were sparked last November when then-President Yanukovych made a sudden decision not to sign a trade agreement that he had negotiated with the European Union.

“The European Union started this debate after the deal was not signed by Yanukovych,” Nekrassov told Amanpour. “The EU started blackmailing the government in Ukraine, and saying you have to choose between Russia or us.”

Russia itself pledged the financially wrought Ukraine a $15 billion loan after Yanukovych backed out of the EU deal.

The EU-Ukraine trade deal, Nekrassov said, was a “very bad” one.

“I was advising the finance minister. I read that agreement. It was terrible. It would have destroyed Ukraine’s industry, and it would have caused a lot of grief. So that was his legal right not to sign it.”

Russia has in many ways been Ukraine’s lifeline, including a deal to give the country cheap natural gas. Now that Yanukovych is no longer president, Nekrassov said that could all be off the table.

“The agreement with the previous regime was, yes, that the gas prices were, would be 30 per cent lower. Now this new regime has not discussed anything with Moscow.”

“So we don’t know what is going to happen, and Russia has all the right to sell the gas for world market prices.”

Acting Ukrainian President Olexander Turchinov warned that his country is “sliding into the abyss,” facing a catastrophic default because it is in such a deep financial hole.

“They are not professionals,” Nekrassov said of the interim government “I don’t really see how they are going to change anything.”

“The worst thing that could happen is that if it finds problems in raising money or getting a proper unity government, they will start using this sort of threat of attack by Russia as a policy, rather than just statement.”

“That would be dangerous.”

Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode • Russia • Ukraine
soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. Men

    west supports fascists in ukraine, whats wrong with the west!?

    February 26, 2014 at 5:59 am | Reply
    • Ian

      Its not all one sided, but Putin is yet again causing longer term damage to Russia, his approaches destroy's confidence with global trading partners who fuel economies. This is depriving the greater Russian public of prosperity. Putin with a seemingly low moral intellect and 40 billion dollars of his peoples money is unlikely to be worried. Its clear he doesn't care all that much about ordinary Russian either, people that could get caught on thew front line of a conflict..

      March 9, 2014 at 10:16 pm | Reply
  2. To be honest person

    So also it is not necessary to support the opposition in the west.

    February 27, 2014 at 10:30 pm | Reply
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