Press TV has conducted an interview with former US Senate foreign policy analyst James Jatras to talk about the crisis in Ukraine.
Below is a rush transcript of the interview:
Press TV: Now Russia has said and stated very clearly that it is not responsible for the crisis in Ukraine. What do you think Russia’s basing these assertions on?
Jatras: I think they are basing their assertions essentially on the absence of what they regard as legitimate governmental authority in Ukraine. We have two problems with the group that considers itself or styles itself the government in Ukraine right now. One is whether or not their claim to have removed Mr. Yanukovych is valid though Moscow of course still considers him the legal president of Ukraine and he is now invited in Russian forces, according to the letter that the Russian ambassador displayed at the Security Council today. The other one, and this relates to the question of violence, is that it’s not clear who is really in charge in Kiev. It seems that the groups out on the street, including some very violent and extremist elements, essentially had a veto power over the administration if that’s what you want to call it in Kiev and they’re not really calling the shots.
Press TV: Well, right now we just got news that the US has decided to suspend all its military cooperation with Moscow due to the crisis in Ukraine. Now, whenever it’s the US and Europe, we do understand that it’s all of NATO involved, so to speak. How far do you think these two sides are going to go on in this standoff between them when it comes to Ukraine?
Jatras: I hope the bottom line is that nobody starts shooting at anybody. That’s the main thing that I think needs to be avoided. The Russians have gone out of their way to seize the strong position in Crimea without any direct conflict or violence with Ukrainian forces.
I assume NATO would not be insane enough, if I can use that word, to launch such a provocation. As far as military cooperation goes, remember NATO is highly dependent on the so-called northern supply route to get our forces in and out and carried out into Afghanistan. So, I’m not sure how much of a threat that really is and who is really going to be harmed by that.
Press TV: Very quickly, if you can Mr. Jatras, how do you see this situation being resolved?
Jatras: I hope it can be resolved through the negotiating table and this is where the Europeans are key. If they can escape from this push they’re getting from Washington, to stand tall and push hard at some of the inflamed rhetoric coming out of American officials. I hope we can get back to some kind of negotiation where the balance within Ukraine of eastern and western elements, as well as the neutral interests that Russia and the European really have in Ukraine can be accommodated through compromise.