tv Cross Talk RT April 16, 2021 12:30am-1:00am EDT
hello and welcome to cross talk we're all things are considered i'm peter lavelle western governments and western media portray the tensions within ukraine as a conflict involving russia and ukraine this is false there is a road map to resolve ukraine's internal strife and it's called the minsk accords russia is not the problem but nato expansion is. talking ukraine i'm joined by my guest paul robinson in ottawa he is a professor in the graduate school of public and international affairs at the university of ottawa in chicago we have because he is a 19 nato analyst and contributor to antiwar dot com and in budapest we cross the board said he has a podcast at the gaggle which can be found on youtube and run. all right gentlemen
cross in the fact that means you can jump in anytime you want and i always appreciate rick let me go to you 1st in chicago 1st of all i want to compliment you on your amazing work at antiwar dot com i think you're a very important voice and resource for people really want to understand what's going on in ukraine and you do it exemplary work there so you know one of the things that really irritates me in looking at western media coverage of what's going on in ukraine is that they frame it as a conflict between russia and ukraine which is not the case here and and president putin made that very clear in the readout that we got from the white house when they had the president spoke to each other so talk about how it's being misframed this conflict go ahead rick. it's an honor to be on your show with paul and george in addition to yourself 1st of all thanks it's you know it's very clear the narrative is in many ways goes back over a century you know the kind of russophobia that began in 1917 but did not disappear
with the end of the cold war and with the dissolution of the soviet union as a matter of fact what we're seeing is an intensification and i'll connect this directly with the ukrainian situation in a moment but what we've witnessed in the united states over the last 5 years and i don't know how many foreign viewers realize the full depth of the you know the russian anti russian hysteria and so forth that permeated the media in this country to you know right down to the granular level where if you go to any news site and read the comments sections of particularly on you tube the story have anything to do with russia you'll see not only dozens and scores but quite literally hundreds of statements in a row just reeking of you know venomous russophobia and this is been consciously called debated for 5 years and it's not something then you can just put aside after after that sort of thing as a matter of fact i would argue these are be the ukraine crisis or conflict now that the people who voted for george by you know the democratic party core constituents would have felt betrayed if he had not been confrontational with russia after
beating the drum of russophobia for 5 years so what they've done is constructed a false narrative where the people of crimea voting as you know they want autonomous region within even post so he had ukraine they certainly had the right to vote to succeed from ukraine and affiliated with russia if they chose and similarly in lugansk and donetsk these people clearly rejected the 2014 coup and in many cases you know neo nazi tinge to you know who came into power at that time as was their right now to somehow portray that as russian aggression is an inversion of the truth you know you have paul that put it just perfectly there because if you if you watch c n n n m s n b c even fox news it the. pending conflict between ukraine and russia and that is that's not framing it correctly as i said in my introduction there is a roadmap out there and it's not mentioned in the media once and i look at it and i watch media very very closely not probably as closely as ric does but from the
western perspective this is not even mentioned and if it were implemented it would resolve the internal conflict in ukraine and that's what it is it's an internal conflict go ahead paul. well this is what we were. political scientists would call an international ice civil war say it's civil war it's war being fought between ukrainians but it's one of which foreign powers including russian federation have got involved so i don't i don't think i can one can say because russians are not party to this in in any way shape or form because that's a clear also not entirely true but yes you're right there are the ms cream and switch was signed in february of 2015 ask the ukrainian army was defeated in the battle of the bouts of. agreements really were pretty much forced on ukraine against its world due to a military defeat and as soon as it was able to recover a little bit it pretty much made it clear that it had no intention of fulfilling
them the key elements obviously and so are ceasefire and then the giving to the regions of lugansk and dining out some form of special status within ukraine and effectively giving them some form of local autonomy and then also an amnesty for anybody involved in the rebellion now the ukrainian government has made it very clear that it has no and giving an amnesty and as a result really everything has pretty much ground to a halt now the problem is. if you claim is serious about wanting to get its last territories back it's very hard to see how it could do it other than by offering them autonomy and an amnesty because the rebel forces would simply not not agree to do anything that i'm sure they would not even want to agree to that but russian federation might be able to to squeeze their arms that they did but anything that's for now is impossible and certainly russia government will not squeeze our arms to
accept anything less than that which means are pretty much the an impasse because not a side can win militarily on a diplomatic route is garden but the military route has gone too and as a result everything is kind of stuck you know ok you get cured you know what i 5. really fascinating is the the again going back to the framing of the united states and nato is about to defend the sovereignty of ukraine but if you look at the reality is it it's the united states that is compromised ukraine's sovereignty. by pushing for nato membership here i mean if you know victoria nuland is is that it's the godmother of the new ukraine without crimea and the donbass it's because of that it's nothing what russia had to do russia didn't overthrow the government in 2014 george. though that's exactly right i mean the united states is interested in ukraine for one reason it wants ukraine in nature that has been the goal since the end of the soviet union and the dissolution of the warsaw pact because if you
look at the map pretty much every country that is west of russia has not been scooped up within nato i mean other than serbia and bosnia herzegovina everybody else is now in. military alliance russia ukraine is the standout and this is the united states is go so really the americans don't care very much about ukraine other than as a a dagger to direct at russia so that's why the americans have been rather. encouraging the ukrainians egging them on maybe it's a mountain of bend and be written thinking that well either way to go is whether ukraine wins in and pushes back on the breakaway provinces or ukraine loses
and russia wants to intervene it's a win win for united states and nato because then ukraine could be just. you know be a great great defeat for russia it hasn't worked out that way for a variety of reasons. and i think now and talk about this later. the united states is really was that you have to be seen. with its role or at least the rejection of the plan to send the warship. you know it's kind of an eerie. memory of august 2008 i mean. you know trying is getting these signals from nato heads and and western governments we have to point out that the germans and french have basically said you know deescalate but you know up until the telephone call between biden and putin you know the rhetoric was pretty bombastic here but we have to remember that you know saakashvili miscalculated is going to do exactly the same thing because the result could be the same defeat go ahead rick. yeah the parallel
is astonishing a race at the nato summit in bucharest romania in 2008 georgia and ukraine which have been pared by nato is 2 countries that will enter at the same time and they were promised a full nato membership assuming they met nato preconditions for for that incorporation the 2 obstacles at that time and not go between for georgia and ukraine to enter nato is full members are on resolve territorial disputes on their on their soil and the presence of foreign military personnel on their territory in the case of 2008 with south though said you had small contingents of russian peacekeepers mandated by the commonwealth of independent states by the way and those 2 areas refused to be part of a post soviet georgia particularly one ruled by mikhail saakashvili what he attempted to do in 2008 was to knock both those obstacles out at the same time by re incorporating up gaza and south ossetia even getting the russian peacekeepers
and then making himself nato ready i would argue that selenski is preparing to do precisely the same thing as a matter of fact he's quoted in the ukrainian news today as is is pushing the membership action plan you know the final step before for nato membership as a matter of fact i should mention the ukrainian press today also quotes the ukrainian ambassador to germany saying it's either nato or nuclear weapons i'm not paraphrasing i'm quoting he says either nato gives us membership action program we enter the alliance or we may be forced to remove the nuclear option that's a quote from the ukrainian ambassador to germany so i mean this is i understand rhetoric it's not playing out but it's clearly i think a situation in analogy exactly the one you've established peter which is ukraine sees it's the necessity of resolving those 2 issues i mentioned as preconditions for joining nato and they seem to be hell bent on joining nato and nato is no less
committed to you know put. going for ukraine's further incorporation ok well you know paul there's one real big wrinkle in that it's not a comparison to georgia in the last 40 seconds here. crimea is part of russia and it is now it will forever be and if someone nato ukraine want to try to change that back on the ground it's called war go ahead paul well yes i mean there's no way of a crimea. is going to return to. the ukraine past the past as different. circumstance but i would cite just 3 but the ukrainian government is likely to to launch a full ask france if we've we've seen the head of ukrainian army on several occasions in the past couple months admit that any attempt to do this would involve massive civilian casualties so so they do actually seem to be aware that you know they can't do this very easily without killing huge numbers of people but of course when they do so that will prompt
a russian intervention so i think that's sort of what. their poll that we're going to go to a hard break and after about hard break we'll continue our discussion on ukraine tensions stay with arkie. but i get. this if you. use the 1st one you open your eyes to go forward from a 100. you're seeing this sort of door to. see if it was national guard. i thought it. was
performed of course. for school board or these products one of good will come with the from. the roof because the. machine into life will be smeared. all over you. know follow someone. as a result of style if you wait for 80. it's been decades since the fall of spain's fascist regime but old wounds still haven't healed. and there's. me coffee to market economies above all. of us at the source mean older but i notice that they seem caught in which we know sells ins of newborn babies were torn
from their mothers and given away and forced adoption that only. to this day mothers still search for grown children while adults look in hope for their birth parents. welcome back to crossfire where all things are considered i'm peter lavelle to mind you were discussing ukraine tensions. ok let's go back to paul in our web right before we go to the break we're talking about the huge wrinkle called crimea now as we point out on this program repeatedly the status of the donbass is different than crimea because a donbass is within ukraine russia recognizes it it's part of ukraine but not crimea that's a totally different fact on the ground continue i'll finish your answer go ahead
yeah absolutely so there is a danger of course that is that has been said that the ukraine but would try and reincorporate. through force following the georgian example or more successful example of azerbaijan recently in recapturing its lost territories by force but the problem here is that in a dumbass of a urban environment and that there's simply no way that ukrainian army could attempt to be recaptured without destroying large parts of large cities and killing very large number of civilians in the process and ukrainian leadership doesn't actually seem to be aware of this and that is going to serve as something as a restraint on them because such you know such a level of destruction would almost inevitably bring in the russian army and if the russian army weren't to intervene i think ukrainian army would be destroyed in short measure and i think these russian troop movements which people have been complaining about recently as if they were sort of. you know indicating
a russian invasion of ukraine weren't really designed to invade ukraine what they were designed to do was to send a signal to kiev that you know if you attack donbass. we will intervene and destroy you and i think that's really what's going on so is this form of deterrent you know . george i want to go to you but i want to ask rick a real quick question here rick how many citizens in the donbass have a russian passport now i think you've written about it you have the number. actually i don't i wish i did. as they are but whatever number of whatever percentage of the citizens and both were dancing and donuts do these are russian nationals that's right as i was that you know the follow up and the follow up on paul's point i guess russia would be obligated to defend their nationals if they were being assaulted and killed ok that was the point i wanted to make thank you i could but i don't know the percentage ok i believe it's around 500000 yeah and
george what are you going to talk to inform our audience again i'm so frustrated that you know facts are not being presented to western public why are the people of the donbass wanting a russian passport how does can treat them how they've been treated over ever since 2014 go ahead george. exactly your paper is the crucial point they've been bald they've been terrorized they've been the subject of a massive military onslaught. they've been sanctioned they've been boycotted i mean you know then life has been miserable by it is essentially a war that is being waged against them by here now. the russians clearly took kiev's threats seriously so the fact that they did indeed. move their forces in such a massive way to the ukraine border meant that they actually took it seriously that what was alinsky was doing so whether it's the lansky whether it's the only guys
with these the military whoever was behind it the whether it was the americans who were egging on the landscape the russians took it sufficiently seriously that they actually moved massive numbers of forces to the border and have said explicitly that this is not just oh wait you know casual military maneuvers long planned in advance they said we are responding to aggressive moves by nato this is said. that we moved off course of the board it in response to aggression by nato so this was a serious business and now i think cooler heads have prevailed now what exactly happened whether it was the intervention of macro markel whether. the white house sudden you realize what what you know they've really bitten off more than they can chew but there seems to be an attempt to walk things back i think that probably explains why so that biden initiated that bizarre phone call with yeah.
and this decision not to send the warships of the black sea because that was a very dangerous that was and you know i think they realize in the white house that it's an explosive situation given the tension now in ukraine the send was ships in the black sea where the russians are also carrying out military maneuvers in the black sea so at the moment it does look as if. cooler heads prevail but you know one never really learns what the political back to pollan otto i mean i'm very perplexed by this i mean i think george is absolutely right and they suddenly realized maybe somebody in the room said hey that might be too provocative going into the black sea i mean i don't understand what's going on here are these serious people i mean. the readout and in the readout from the kremlin in the readout from the white house they were there they differ in many different ways here but if you look at the readout from the russian side there is damn serious you know you this
is escalation that we do not find acceptable on top of it there is a roadmap that the initially at least a kiev government agreed to those are the parameters and then they've walked this back it's quite humiliating was it blinking you know he went from a to this i mean what is this guy going to resign because the biggest criticism of trouble is that we're no adults around. i don't want these adults around blinken because they're the b. team from the obama administration so are these serious people paul. i think u.s. policy towards russia has revealed itself in last couple days to be rather chaotic because 1st you have there's a call from biden to putin in which he talked about going to be u.s. summering talked about normalizing relations and also offering to have a summit and then today we get new. more u.s.
sanctions against russia and the expulsion of 10 russian diplomats. which is extremely contradiction you can't on one day long so you can but it's it doesn't make a lot of sense on one day to talk about normalizing biafra lotions and the next days that spell diplomats answer slap on sanctions which of course will never have the. moscow to consider but the initial olive branch was not done and in fact. i suspect right now no evidence 1st officer suspect relation you know with was different people and pushing some different agendas in the white house and a lock on the ship by vibram who was doing the one thing and then the other so he passed 40 got a bit too far in ukraine pedaled back but forgot that he was going to put sanctions on the next day or something and i don't know anyway it was not a coherent policy yeah we have recovered maybe you can explain it to me in our audience here so on during the call let's get together a tab a summit
a one on one and the next day they sanctioned russian officials i mean what is going on here and if there were a meeting what in the world would they talk about a repeat of anchorage go ahead. i think expressions like cat and mouse and good cop bad cop come to mine. biden can say whatever he chooses to but he was actions speak. louder than his words or his putative words you know i should mention a couple things real quickly though an allusion was made earlier to the men's talks i don't know how many people are aware of the fact but ukraine ukraine is suspended its participation in the trilateral group contact group so called mince talks stating that because they're being there they have been held in the capital below reuss in belarus as politically too close to russia that they refuse to continue those talks in that should be the head of the head of the delegation by the way the ukrainian delegation is limited crowd truck who is the 1st president of independent
ukraine he's quoted yesterday as warning the russia of world war 3 is here it's of world war 3 and again this could be heated rhetoric this can be i personally but the fact that language like this is used and is not refuted you know nobody in the state department dressed him down for using terms like that for example on the question of the 10 diplomats being expelled i read this morning 8 of them are being expelled specifically over russia's reincorporation of crimea. as you know this is not the. yes somebody other sanctions are as a result of the russians alleged. interference in the presidential election last year and you know again you cannot build up in the public mind of the public as subconscious you know such a visceral suspicion and hysteria and hatred without it having a very real political consequence incident i read today on tasks that a poll was conducted in russia were 54 percent of russian citizens believe that the
in american election last year was not fair so you know 2 can play this game and do it and we can hold up to the world. you know there's this little democracy as the u.s. house has been referred to recently you know that i would imagine you know probably a comfortable or. similar amount americans don't believe last election was very vulgar well that's a that's a totally different about would want to talk about here george you know you know consider what we've just heard on this program here i think it's very interesting look how because you want to explain expand nato you don't care about the ukrainian people but you empower people within ukraine talking about either it's nato or it's war ok 1st of all it's insanity because they're the biggest losers if something like that were to happen and it shows how the the atlanticist of the loud basically what i would say troublemakers beginning to push forward a membership would you want someone in
a club like that go ahead george i think. it's a very good point there was a recent article i think you sent to me by anatol lieven who say something like well made it was great when he didn't do anything right now nato is doing something it's not so great anymore but nato has to do something because it can't justify its existence other than inventing new missions for its own so expansion of nato is part and parcel of nato is actually going on existing when there's not the slightest justification for it and of course by expanding it actually expanding the range of instability i mean it's causing great even stability in ukraine we saw the instability it caused in georgia which are referred to i mean leaving aside everything else like what happened in north africa with libya but what's what's happening now is that by continually banging the drum that ukraine must be
integrated within the euro atlantic institutions it's of course fueling the the plan to assist the westernised as the russell. of ukraine to keep pushing forward and in the hope that if they can provoke big enough crisis nato will be forced to come to their assistance so it's a very dangerous game nato is playing because it is encouraging those who want to provoke a war with russia you know that the sad thing is as i close up the program here this is what happens when you have the russia gate hoax bleed into policy it makes you tie yourself up like a pretzel ok that's all the time we have i want to thank my guests in chicago auto way and in budapest and i want to thank our viewers for watching us here at r.c.c. next time and remember crosstalk tools.
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corrupted you need to descend. to join us in the depths. or a maid in the shallows. now is the time to deescalate. washington sends a confused message to russia as joe biden pulls for a stable relationship while cracking the sanctions with. washington has to understand that there will be a price for the degradation of bilateral relations and it is the us that is entirely responsible for what is happening. washington also rolls back on the sensational claims that russia often.