The making of Juan Guaidó: How the US regime change laboratory created Venezuela’s coup leader

From the Gray Zone Project
January 31, 2019

Juan Guaidó is the product of a decade-long project overseen by Washington’s elite regime change trainers. While posing as a champion of democracy, he has spent years at the forefront of a violent campaign of destabilization.

By Dan Cohen and Max Blumenthal

Before the fateful day of January 22, fewer than one in five Venezuelans had heard of Juan Guaidó. Only a few months ago, the 35-year-old was an obscure character in a politically marginal far-right group closely associated with gruesome acts of street violence. Even in his own party, Guaidó had been a mid-level figure in the opposition-dominated National Assembly, which is now held under contempt according to Venezuela’s constitution.

But after a single phone call from from US Vice President Mike Pence, Guaidó proclaimed himself president of Venezuela. Anointed as the leader of his country by Washington, a previously unknown political bottom-dweller was vaulted onto the international stage as the US-selected leader of the nation with the world’s largest oil reserves.

Echoing the Washington consensus, the New York Times editorial board hailedGuaidó as a “credible rival” to Maduro with a “refreshing style and vision of taking the country forward.” The Bloomberg News editorial board applaudedhim for seeking “restoration of democracy” and the Wall Street Journal declared him “a new democratic leader.” Meanwhile, Canada, numerous European nations, Israel, and the bloc of right-wing Latin American governments known as the Lima Group recognized Guaidó as the legitimate leader of Venezuela.

While Guaidó seemed to have materialized out of nowhere, he was, in fact, the product of more than a decade of assiduous grooming by the US government’s elite regime change factories. Alongside a cadre of right-wing student activists, Guaidó was cultivated to undermine Venezuela’s socialist-oriented government, destabilize the country, and one day seize power. Though he has been a minor figure in Venezuelan politics, he had spent years quietly demonstrated his worthiness in Washington’s halls of power.

“Juan Guaidó is a character that has been created for this circumstance,” Marco Teruggi, an Argentinian sociologist and leading chronicler of Venezuelan politics, told The Grayzone. “It’s the logic of a laboratory – Guaidó is like a mixture of several elements that create a character who, in all honesty, oscillates between laughable and worrying.”

Diego Sequera, a Venezuelan journalist and writer for the investigative outlet Misión Verdad, agreed: “Guaidó is more popular outside Venezuela than inside, especially in the elite Ivy League and Washington circles,” Sequera remarked to The Grayzone, “He’s a known character there, is predictably right-wing, and is considered loyal to the program.”

While Guaidó is today sold as the face of democratic restoration, he spent his career in the most violent faction of Venezuela’s most radical opposition party, positioning himself at the forefront of one destabilization campaign after another. His party has been widely discredited inside Venezuela, and is held partly responsible for fragmenting a badly weakened opposition.

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In defense of democracy and self-determination of the people of Venezuela

From Global Research
January 26, 2019

By Alison Bodine

After two days of intense pressure and a concerted campaign by the US and Canada to install Juan Guaidó as the new “self-declared” interim President of Venezuela, it is clear that they have failed in this objective. It is also clear that their illegal and undemocratic attempts to destabilize the country and overthrow the democratically elected President Nicolás Maduro will continue – with incessantly harmful consequences. Despite this, the people of Venezuela have risen once again to defend their country and democracy against hostile foreign intervention. It is essential that we support them in this fight.

The mainstream media is full of “Who is Juan Guaidó?” articles, which is fair given that the President of the National Assembly has never been an important leader in Venezuela until the US and Canada tried to make him one. Indeed, he was elected to the National Assembly in 2015 with only 26% of the votes. The New York Times and Wall Street Journal have also already published details of the months of meetings and planning between U.S. officials and Guaidó before his January 23 self-declaration as interim President.

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Venezuela at the UN Security with proof of U.S. “blatant and gross intervention” directing the coup d’etat, reviews history of U.S. interventions; Iran Contra’s Ellliott Abrams speaks, Russia and Venezuela respond (VIDEO)

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza asks: Which article of the Venezuela Constitution or which provision of the United Nations Charter provides the legal basis for the self-proclamation of an individual who wasn’t elected by anyone as president of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela?

https://www.c-span.org/video/?457308-7/un-security-council-meeting-situation-venezuela
38:35

Venezuela Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza addressed the UN Security Council January 26, 2019.

U.S. Special Envoy to Venezuela Elliott Abrams, a prominent figure from IranContra, responded. This was followed by responses by Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia and Venezuela Foreign Minister Arreaza.

Excerpt of Venezuela Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza’s remarks: 

 

At last we have a chance to speak. We have a written text but before that, I wanted to share some thoughts with you. Indeed, we can even thank Mr. Mike Pompeo because in the face of failure at the OAS Organization of American States on the 24th of January, they didn’t have enough weight to impose a resolution. Well, they convened a meeting of the Security Council. In fact, we, President Maduro thought of appealing to this body not only to debate not only the case of Venezuela but rather the blatant and gross intervention and mechanisms of interference by the United States in our country. And we want to say at this opportunity, In this case, the United States is not behind the coup d’etat. It is in advance, it’s in the vanguard of the coup d’etat. It is dictating the orders, not only to the Venezuelan opposition but also to the satellite governments in the region, and it seems in Europe and the other parts of the world.

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Events moving rapidly across Ukraine to an end-point

A fight is coming one way or another, but Russians are ready to fight and die alongside Ukrainians who want to seize their badly abused country back from the jaws of death. Are Americans, weary from decades upon decades of state endorsed genocide, coup de etat’s and mass invasions, willing to sacrifice more of their sons and daughters to useless, horrific and murderous campaigns for false ideals that end in abject failure?

From Fort Russ

March 3, 2017 – Fort Russ News –
– Op-ed – by James Harmon –

Right now the situation in Ukraine is moving to a critical point. With the “economic Stalingrad” of the march 1st reorientation of management that will direct funds back into the Donbass community, and into the Russian federation, away from western Ukraine, the nationalist gambit to choke off funds from the DNR is going to backfire tremendously.
With extremists acting outside the will of the government of Poroshenko, and viciously protesting him in Kiev – and in places such as Odessa, as recent as ten days ago – a mass march with Ukrainians shouting RUSSIA! RUSSIA! and antifascist slogans, holding USSR and Russian flags, Ukrainians are increasingly divided and polarized.
One thing seems to be ubiquitous however – the antipathy towards the bandit-regime of kleptocrats, globalists and oligarchs that is currently occupying western Ukraine. As Poroshenko’s grip of the country loosens, and more and more citizens become emboldened by rage and motivated by national shame – ground reports of correspondents attached to this publication have reported upwards of 100 soldiers in mid sized Polish cities, likely sent there by the US’s former regime before Trump’s election, to help the current CEO of Ukraine, Poroshenko, retain power for as long as he can over the company assets.
Just like Saigon eventually fell to the North Vietnamese army, large parts of Iraq fell to ISIS terrorists, and the Ustaše fled Yugoslavia frightened, the current western Ukrainian regime exists on borrowed time and will be forced to flee, tail between the legs. However, the memory of many murdered, the many orphaned, and the many raped and robbed will endure in the minds of Russians and those who oppose the horrific events that happened in the past few years in a country that to many, is inseparable from the identity of Russia.
Poroshenko’s “deal with the devil”, in his collaboration with fascists and Americans is coming undone, as the wild dogs will no longer listen to their intoxicated master. A sword of Damocles hangs above his office, ready to strike him down, and force him to flee his own country – only instead of purchasing a Dacha next to Yanukovych’s in Russia, he’ll likely be forced to settle for a cottage in Virginia.
Before that time comes however – the US troops stationed in Polish airports, drunkenly leering at naive Polish girls, urinating on buildings, and loudly bragging will likely find their way into Ukraine, where before they are recalled, more innocent lives will be lost to the greed and ambition of globalist elites. The globalists use any Sturmabteilung they can – Fascists in Ukraine, “Antifascists” in USA, west-philes in Russia, Islamists in Syria – the list goes on.
The question will be – before Chancellor Poroshenko falls, before he runs, in shame, fleeing to a safe house – how many will have to suffer? Will Trump prove that he is more than mere campaign rhetoric, and follow in the footsteps of Reagan, who pulled out of Lebanon in the early 80’s, or will he follow in the footsteps of Obama who destabilized and destroyed large sectors of the world with idealism and Machiavellian use of extremists? [not idealism — it was marketing and PR cover for American and industrial empire-building, a foreign policy tradition; that’s why he could use extremists]
A fight is coming one way or another, but Russians are ready to fight and die alongside Ukrainains who want to seize their badly abused country back from the jaws of death. Are Americans, weary from decades upon decades of state endorsed genocide, coup de etat’s and mass invasions, willing to sacrifice more of their sons and daughters to useless, horrific and murderous campaigns for false ideals that end in abject failure?
Trump has officially snubbed Poroshenko after a long series of very obscure and abstract moves that showcase the deep state’s displeasure at his pro Russian sentiments. Is this the start of Trump showcasing a reasonable attitude to foreign policy, or is it the calm before the storm?

More on Macedonia: Scenario of a Ukraine style protest movement and coup d’etat?

Victoria Nuland was charged with conspiring in this attempted coup. Here is an earlier post: http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2015/02/16/nuland-attempts-kiev-version-2-skopje.html
On this website at https://freeukrainenow.org/2015/02/24/victoria-nuland-attempts-another-coup-kiev-version-2-0-in-macedonia/

From Independent Macedonia

Additional details from the investigation over Zoran Verusevski, the former head of Macedonia UBK State Security agency, reveal that he was discussing the possibility of a Ukrainian style protests that would bring down the Government in Macedonia and bring the opposition SDSM party in power.

Verusevski, who held high positions in the security services appointed by SDSM, is charged, together with SDSM leader and several others, of trying to blackmail the Government to bring SDSM into the ruling coalition, and also of cooperating with foreign intelligence agencies.

Former Head of UBK State Security Agency Zoran Verusevski. Photo: Dnevnik

Police confiscated Verusevski’s computers and other electronic devices when he was arrested in mid­January, and since, several leaks from the investigation revealed details about his correspondence with Zaev and with Gjorgji Lazarevski, another former high ranking UBK official who is also charged. Zaev confirmed some of the leaks as authentic. Several media outlets reported on Saturday about a cache of Skype messages exchanged between Verusevski and Lazarevski, in which the two former security officials are mentioning Ukraine, as a political disturbance scenario that they could develop in Macedonia. In one message Lazarevski says that SDSM leader Zaev should move his “old behind” and be more like Vitaly Klichko, the Ukrainian boxer who energized the Maidan protests.

Verusevski responds that Zaev does not have the credibility, because “an amnestied politician is like a released pedophile”. Zaev was amnestied in 2008 by then President and leading SDSM politician Branko Crvenkovski over the charges that as mayor of the city of Strumica he allowed a corrupt real­ estate deal that benefited him and his business associates. In another batch of Skype messages, Verusevski says “Ukraine has collapsed”, with Lazarevski replying that “we are not far behind”, only to add that “SDSM doesn’t have the capacity for a coup”. An earlier leak from their correspondence showed Verusevski and Lazarevski discussing that what they are preparing could lead to a civil war in Macedonia.

The two are charged with recruiting an UBK surveillance system technician Zvonko Kostovski to wiretap phones from leading Government and opposition officials, and of preparing English language reports they then gave to a foreign intelligence service, which paid them substantially. Verusevski is charged with joining forces with Zaev, and planning to use the cache of information his rogue spy ring has gathered in an attempt to pressure VMRO-­DPMNE leader and Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski into bringing SDSM to the Government. Gruevski responded by asking the Public Prosecutor’s office to investigate the case, and currently Zaev and Verusevski are charged, while Zaev is holding press conferences at which he is presenting audio files he claims prove corruption and election irregularities perpetrated by VMRO-­DPMNE officials. VMRO-­DPMNE insists that the material is taken out of context and fabricated.

Verusevski had a day long hearing at the Prosecutor’s office on Friday, with the entirety of the evidence gathered against him presented, likely for the first time. Zvonko Kostovski was already sentenced to three years in prison, in exchange for his confession, the details of which were likely presented before Verusevski on Friday as well.

The fear that political and inter-­ethnic tensions could appear as result of the political situation was often discussed by commentators on both sides. Macedonia experienced an armed insurgency by ethnic Albanian rebels in 2001, which ended with international mediation and a political agreement. That insurgency was preceded by a 2000 wiretapping scandal in which then opposition leader Branko Crvenkovski blamed then VMRO’-DPMNE leader and Prime Minister Ljubco Georgievski of mass wiretapping, and presented transcripts of conversations he allegedly got from insiders in the UBK service. Crvenkovski’s source was never revealed, as the country became engulfed in the 2001 insurgency, with commentators close to VMRO­DPMNE saying that, both in 2000 and in 2015, Verusevski was the main source of the wiretapping charges.

Copyright the Independent, Macedonia 2015

http://m.independent.mk/view_news.php?id=15869

http://www.globalresearch.ca/macedonia-scenario-of-a-ukraine-style-protest-movement-and-coup-detat/5439397

Crimea: was it seized by Russia, or did Russia block its seizure by the U.S.?

By Eric Zuesse

Both before and after Crimea left Ukraine and joined Russia in a public referendum on 16 March 2014, the Gallup Organization polled Crimeans on behalf of the U.S. Government, and found them to be extremely pro-Russian and anti-American, and also anti-Ukrainian. (Neither poll was subsequently publicized, because the results of each were the opposite of what the sponsor had wished.) Both polls were done on behalf of the U.S. Government, in order to find Crimeans’ attitudes toward the United States and toward Russia, and also toward Ukraine, not only before but also after the planned U.S. coup in Ukraine, which occurred in February 2014 but was actually kicked off on 20 November 2013, the day before Ukraine’s democratically elected President Viktor Yanukovych publicly announced that Ukraine had received a better economic offer from Russia’s Eurasian Economic Community than from America’s European Union. (The EEC subsequently became the Eurasian Economic Union, now that it was clear that Ukraine was going with the EU.) That decision by Yanukovych in favor of the EEC was mistakenly thought by him to be merely an economic one, and he didn’t know the extent to which the U.S. Government had set up an operation to overthrow him if he didn’t go along with the EU’s offer. (If some of these basic historical facts don’t come through from merely the wikipedia articles alone, that’s because the CIA is among the organizations that edit wikipedia articles, and so wikipedia is unwittingly a political propaganda vehicle. It is especially used for propaganda by the CIA and FBI.)

 

More recently, a poll of Crimeans was issued on 4 February 2015, by the polling organization GfK, and paid for this time by the pro-American-Government Canadian Government, via its Canada Fund for Local Initiatives, and via Free Crimea, which is itself funded by the latter organization. However, the Canadian Government got no better news than the U.S. Government had gotten: 82% of Crimeans “Fully endorse” Crimea’s having become part of Russia (of which it had been part between 1783 and 1954, and which the public there had never wanted to leave); 11% “Mostly endorse” it; 2% “Mostly disapprove”; 3% “Don’t know”; and only 2% “Fully disapprove.” Or, to put it simply: 93% approve; 3% don’t know, and 4% disapprove. This poll was publicly issued only in the polling organization’s own report, which was made available only in Russian (the Ukrainian Government’s main language for international business) and therefore not comprehensible to English-speakers. It was titled, “СОЦИАЛЬНО-ПОЛИТИЧЕСКИЕ НАСТРОЕНИЯ ЖИТЕЛЕЙ КРЫМА Исследование проведенное GfK Ukraine по заказу компании” or “SOCIO-POLITICAL SENTIMENTS IN CRIMEA: Research conducted by GfK Ukraine on the order of the company.” On February 10th, an English-language article reported and summarized the poll’s findings.
During the 16 March 2014 public referendum in Crimea, 96% voted to rejoin Russia. One question on the post-referendum, April 2014, U.S.-sponsored Gallup poll in Crimea, was headlined, “Perceived Legitimacy of March 16 Crimean Referendum” (on page 28 of the poll-report), and 82.8% of Crimeans agreed with the statement, “The results of the referendum on Crimea’s status likely reflect the views of most people here.” 6.7% disagreed. According to the newer poll (4 February 2015), 96% were for annexation to Russia, and 4% were opposed, which happens to be exactly what the 16 March 2014 referendum had actually found to be the case. But, continuing now with the description of the April 2014 Gallup poll: its “Views of Foreign Parties’ Role in the Crisis — Crimea” (p. 25), showed 76.2% of Crimeans saying that the role of the U.S. was “Mostly negative,” and 2.8% saying the U.S. role was “Mostly positive”; while Crimeans’ attitudes towards Russia were the exact opposite: 71.3% said Russia’s role was “Mostly positive,” and 4.0% said it was “Mostly negative.”
An accurate reflection of the reason why Crimeans, during the lead-up to the referendum, were appalled by America’s extremely violent and bloody takeover of the Ukrainian Government (as the EU itself had confirmed), was given on Crimean television shortly before the referendum, when a former criminal prosecutor in the Ukrainian Government, who lived and worked in Kiev and saw with her own eyes much of the violence but was not personally involved in the events, quit her office, and got in her car and drove back to her childhood home in Crimea, now unemployed, because she was so revulsed at what had happened to her country. On this call-in show, which was watched by many Ukrainians, she explained why she could no longer, as a lawyer and a supporter of the Ukrainian Constitution, support the Ukrainain Government — that it was now an illegal Government. She closed her opening statement, just before taking the calls from people over the phone, by saying, “Despite that our ‘great politicians’ who seized power by bloodshed, are now claiming that we don’t have the right to decide our own future — citizens of Crimea, you have every right in the world. Nobody is allowed to usurp power.” She subsequently became a criminal prosecutor in the new Crimean government, enforcing now the Russian Constitution, in Crimea.
However, anyone who says that Russia “seized Crimea,” is clearly lying or else is fooled by people who are.
Here, then, are highlights from a typical Western ‘news’ report about Russia’s President, Vladimir Putin, in the issue of TIME magazine (December 10th online, December 22nd issue on newsstands), headlining “Vladimir Putin, The Imperialist,” in which Putin was a “runner-up” as the “Person of the Year” — a year when, actually, Obama overthrew Ukraine’s Government and replaced it with one run by racist-fascist (or nazi) haters of Russia, who were setting up to yank the remaining years on Russia’s lease of its crucial Black Sea Naval Base in Crimea, and the Crimeans were imminently fearing a Ukrainian invasion (the author was Simon Shuster):
His decision in March to invade and then annex the region of Crimea from Ukraine marked the first growth of Russia’s dominions since the fall of the Soviet Union. …
With the conquest of Crimea, a derelict peninsula about the size of Massachusetts, Putin at last restored a scrap of Russia’s honor, says Gorbachev, by “acting on his own,” unbound by the constraints of U.S. supremacy and the table manners of international law. …
That name [Crimea], redolent with the history of Europe’s 19th century wars, has become a byword in Russia for national revival, a taste of the imperial glory that a generation of Russians have long hungered for. …
Already expelled from the G-8 club of wealthy nations in March after the annexation of Crimea, Putin was further ostracized at the G-20 summit. …
So, was Putin’s taste of empire worth the cost to Russian prosperity? For those who carry the grudges of Russian history, it was. …
Russia now seeks to position itself as an alternative to the Western model of liberal democracy—and it’s had some success. Right-wing politicians in France and the U.K., not to mention Central and Eastern Europe, are not shy about declaring their admiration for Putin. The ultraconservative government of Hungary, a member of NATO and the European Union, has announced its intention to develop as an “illiberal state” modeled on Russia, cracking down harshly on civil society. …
Putin will face challenges of his own as the West begins to rally against his aggressiveness. …
Make no mistake, though: Russians also remember that their country once dominated a sixth of the earth’s landmass and stood as a global player second to none. That is the role Putin seeks to regain. …
Nothing was said about the Black Sea fleet, nor about any strategic issue. Nothing was provided in order to help readers understand what was happening. Readers’ Cold-War buttons were being pushed; that is all. America’s aristocracy despises its public, whom they merely manipulate and control.
Here is an article about (and linking to) U.S. President Barack Obama’s “National Security Strategy 2015,” in which Obama uses the term “aggression” 18 times, 17 of them referring to Russia. Obama never once cites a reason for applying that term; for example, unlike Simon Shuster, he doesn’t even so much as mention “Crimea.”
And, here is the best video that has yet been issued on Obama’s February 2014 coup, the coup that installed the Ukrainian regime that has been carrying out the ethnic cleansing operation, which Ukraine calls their ‘Anti Terrorist Operation,’ in the Donbass region, though it’s really the anti-resident operation there.
That fate of ethnic cleansing or local genocide — the fate which befell the residents of Ukraine’s Donbass region, the region that’s shown in dark purple in this election-map for the man whom Obama overthrew in February 2014 and which is the area that voted 90% for him — is the fate that Crimeans were protected from when they rejoined Russia.
Russia’s using its troops, who were permanently stationed in Crimea already and didn’t need to ‘invade’ anything in order to protect the residents in Crimea so that they could hold their referendum in peace, is what blocked the seizure of Crimea by the newly installed Ukrainian regime.
The invader was the United States, in its typically sneaky post-1950 way: a coup d’etat. What Dwight Eisenhower’s, Allen Dulles’s, and Kermit Roosevelt’s CIA operation had done to Iran in 1953, Barack Obama’s and Victoria Nuland’s operation did to Ukraine in 2014: a violent coup installing a far-right government — in Obama’s case, even a nazi government (and see this and this and this).
That — and the firebombings and other horrors that Washington’s Brookings Institution think tank want U.S. taxpayers to finance yet more of in Donbass — is what RussiaprotectedCrimeans from.

The aggressor here is not Vladimir Putin; it is Barack Obama. All honest news media (such as here and here and here and here and here and here and here) are reporting that. For economic analysis and reporting on these and other events, here is an excellent general news source. (It autotranslates if viewed in google’s chrome browser.) As for dishonest ‘news’ media, such as TIME  and Fox ‘News,’ they serve a different purpose than truth; so, none of them will be listed here, where the only interest is truth.
PS: For further insights into the lying that is prevalent in the West regarding Crimea, Ukraine, and Russia, see this remarkably honest testimony to the U.K. House of Lords’ 20 February 2015 Committee report, “The EU and Russia: before and beyond the crisis in Ukraine,” linked there on p. 108 as “RUS0012” and titled “Irina Kirillova MBE – Written evidence,” in which that Cambridge university professor describes the profound disappointment of ordinary people she had encountered in Russia, as they saw the misrepresentations in the West regarding the situations in Russia, Ukraine and Crimea. Outside of the English-speaking world, and especially in the regions that are not controlled by the U.S., the fakery of ‘journalism’ in the English-speaking world is becoming shockingly more evident than it formerly was. As usual, however, the House of Lords’ final report ignored these realities; and, throughout, it starts with the assumption that Russia is aggressive and that the West is merely responding to that. This professor’s written testimony was thus ignored. Most of the other individuals in the “Appendix 2: List of Witnesses” were the Anglo-aristocracy’s usual Russia-haters, such as Ian Bond, Director of Foreign Policy, Center for European Reform, saying that, “The most important thing is that the EU, as a rules-based organisation, should follow a rules-based approach to Russia,” as if that would be something alien to Russians. This type of bigoted condescenscion was rife throughout the report. If those people are as blind to evidence and science as they put themselves forth as being, they are dangerous in any governmental role; and to call the U.K. a ‘democracy’ is questionable, at best. Britain is an aristocracy, not a democracy. And the U.S. is at least as bad. In regards to the relationships between Russia, Ukraine, and Crimea, the West might be as bad as Ukraine, and should just quit the entire matter and try to start over from scratch, which means to let the nazis whom Obama placed into power there sink, not provide them with more weapons. Or, if more weapons are provided to them, then the rest of the West should issue sanctions against any nation that does that. Under liars and fools the West is drifting towards a totally unwarranted nuclear conflict with Russia.

Vladimir Putin’s interview with Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram

Posted on The Kremlin, February 9, 2015

Excerpt:
In the run-up to his visit to the Arab Republic of Egypt, Vladimir Putin gave an interview to the Al-Ahram daily newspaper…

QUESTION: How would you assess the situation in Ukraine and around it? What do you think will be the most appropriate way out of the Ukrainian crisis?

VLADIMIR PUTIN: I would like to remind Egyptian readers that the Ukrainian crisis was not caused by the Russian Federation. It has emerged in response to the attempts of the USA and its western allies who considered themselves ‘winners’ of the cold war to impose their will everywhere. Promises of non-expansion of the NATO to the East (given yet to the Soviet authorities) have turned out to be hollow statements. We have seen how NATO’s infrastructure was moving closer and closer towards Russian borders and how Russian interests were being ignored.

Moreover, in the framework of the EU Eastern Partnership Program there have been attempts to tear states which had been parts of the former USSR off Russia and to prompt them to make an artificial choice “between Russia and Europe.” The Ukrainian crisis has become a high point of these negative trends. We repeatedly warned the USA and its western allies about harmful consequences of their interference in Ukrainian domestic affairs but they did not listen to our opinion.

Last February the USA and a number of EU member states supported the coup d’état in Kiev. The ultranationalists who seized the power using military force put the country on the edge of disruption and started the fratricidal war.

Unfortunately, today we can see how the ‘war party’ in Kiev actively supported from the outside continues its attempts to push the Ukrainian people over the edge of a catastrophe. The situation in Donbas has aggravated dramatically. Ukrainian security forces resumed the bombing of Donetsk, Lugansk and other residential areas in the region. They are building up their military presence there. The “new wave” of mass mobilization has been announced in the country; there are calls for “taking revenge” after summer “military failures” and for a forceful “Ukrainization of Donbas.”

Ukraine is militarizing rapidly. We can judge by the statistics: in 2014, the Ukrainian military budget increased by almost 41 percent. This year, according to preliminary data, it will more than triple and reach more than $3 billion – which is about 5 percent of the country’s GDP. And this is happening when its economy supported mostly with international, including Russian, funds is in rather deplorable situation.

We certainly feel worried. We hope that common sense will prevail. Russia strongly calls for a comprehensive and exclusively peaceful settlement of the Ukrainian crisis based on the Minsk agreements which were largely achieved owing to the initiative and efforts of the Russian side.

The most important condition for the stabilization of the situation is immediate cease-fire and ending of a so called ‘anti-terrorist’, but in fact punitive, operation in the south-east of Ukraine. Kiev’s attempts to exert economic pressure on Donbas and disrupt its daily life only aggravate the situation. This is a dead-end track, fraught with a big catastrophe.

It is evident that the crisis will continue until the Ukrainians themselves agree with each other. Until the unbridled radicalism and nationalism are finished with, and the society is consolidated around positive values and genuine interests of Ukraine. To achieve this, Kiev authorities need to listen to their people, find a common language and reach an agreement with all political forces and regions of the country. They need to elaborate such constitutional state system formula that would provide for a safe and comfortable living for all citizens with human rights being fully observed.

In the meantime, it is necessary to do one’s utmost to make all the parties to the conflict gather around the negotiating table. In this context, the Russian side stands for forging sustainable and direct contacts between Kiev and Donetsk and Lugansk, for continued work within the Contact Group. On our part, we intend to actively contribute to that process.

For the full interview with questions on many topics:

http://eng.kremlin.ru/transcripts/23575