Former US congressman Ron Paul has defended Russian President Vladimir Putin over the upcoming referendum in Ukraine’s autonomous region of Crimea.
Following the current crisis in Ukraine, people in Crimea will vote on Sunday on whether they want to be part of Ukraine or Russia.
In an interview with Fox News, Paul said Washington and its Western allies participated in the overthrow of the government of Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovich.
“This whole thing that Putin is the big cause of the trouble and yet there’s pretty good evidence that the Europeans as well as the American government had to contrive to have the overthrow of a government that most people say had been elected,” Paul said.
“And then for them to come along and say ‘Well, it’s an illegal government,’ and they want to have a referendum now, you know, in Crimea ‘Oh no that’s not permissible’,” he added.
“And they say everything Putin does is illegal. He’s no angel, but actually he has some law on his side. They have contracts and agreements and treaties for a naval base there and the permission to go by that area,” the former Texas Rep. explained.
Paul also noted that the Obama administration is hiding the truth about the crisis.
“It reminds me a little bit about what would happen if all of sudden they said that the Americans are occupying Guantanamo illegally and we’ve just invaded Guantanamo,” he said. “It’s such a façade and hiding the truth.”
“I think people have a right of self-determination. It’s written to the international law. It’s a moral principle and of course if you believe in limited government, everybody should have the right to minimize their government and there should be a right of secession.”
Paul said he does not understand how the United States can argue against the results of the election.
“We loved secession when we seceded from Great Britain, and we loved secession when the Soviet Union broke up,” Paul said.
“I cannot understand how we could we argue against an election. You know that to me sounds like democratic.”
The US has threatened Russia with sanctions if a referendum in Crimea region results in Russian annexation.
"If we are not successful tomorrow in finding a way forward and the referendum - which we all anticipate is going to take place on Sunday - is done without some path forward, there are going to be serious repercussions," US Secretary of State John Kerry told the House Foreign Relations Committee on Thursday.