Western sanctions are aimed at regime change in Russia – Lavrov

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (RIA Novosti / Ramil Sitdikov)

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (RIA Novosti / Ramil Sitdikov)

 

RT news – 11-22-2014

The ultimate goal of the anti-Russian sanctions imposed by some Western nations is to stir public protests and oust the government, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said.

“Western leaders publicly state that the sanctions must hurt [Russia’s] economy and stir up public protests. The West doesn’t want to change Russia’s policies. They want a regime change. Practically nobody denies that,” he told a leading think-tank in Moscow.

Lavrov said that the tensions between Russia and the West had been brewing for years before the Ukrainian crisis, adding that now the Europeans had decided to go for all-or-nothing and play chicken with Russia. But at least the positions have been made clear, Lavrov said.

‘Ideology blinds Europe’

Russia and the EU are having a moment of truth focused on Ukraine, Lavrov said, but stressed that Moscow would not be the one to break off ties with Europe. However, Russia won’t simply go back to how things were before the crisis hit, he said.

“The EU is our largest partner,” Lavrov said. “Nobody is going to shoot himself in the foot and reject cooperation with Europe, but everyone understands that it won’t be business as usual anymore.

“But we don’t need the kind of business we had. [That] was like ‘Russia must do this and must do that,’ and we want to cooperate as equals,” he added.

Claims about Russia’s isolation are not worth even discussions – Lavrov http://en.tass.ru/russia/761132 

The Times of India: U.S. increasing non-lethal military aid to Ukraine

 

WASHINGTON: The United States plans to increase non-lethal military assistance to Ukraine, including deliveries of the first Humvee vehicles, having decided for now not to provide weapons, US officials said.

The increase in non-lethal aid to Ukraine, which is grappling with a Russian-backed separatist movement in its east, is expected to be announced on Thursday during a visit to Kiev by vice president Joe Biden.

The officials, who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity, described it as an expansion of US support for Ukraine’s armed forces, but one that was unlikely to significantly alter the conflict.

Another news media I-94 reports:

The aid falls short of what Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko requested during a visit to Washington in September when he appealed for lethal aid – a request echoed by some U.S. lawmakers in response to what NATO allies say is Russia’s movement of tanks and troops into eastern Ukraine.

Officials in the Obama administration had said Washington believed Ukraine had enough lethal aid and the types of weaponry requested for Ukraine would be of only marginal value. They had also emphasized the need for a diplomatic outcome.

The United States and its European allies have imposed several rounds of economic sanctions on Russia for its seizure of Crimea and incursion into eastern Ukraine.

The new non-lethal aid Biden will present in Kiev includes Humvees from excess supplies in the Pentagon’s inventory, as well as the delivery of previously promised radars that can detect the location of enemy mortars, officials said. They did not specify a dollar value for the assistance.

Previous non-lethal aid to Ukraine includes $53 million announced in September for military equipment such as counter-mortar detection units, body armor, binoculars, small boats and other gear for Ukraine’s security forces and border guards in the east.

LONG DEBATE

President Barack Obama’s administration has long debated providing weapons to the Kiev government, but has so far concluded that it might only prompt Russia to escalate its aid to the separatist rebels.

Lethal assistance “remains on the table. It’s something that we’re looking at,” Obama’s deputy national security adviser and nominee for deputy secretary of state, Tony Blinken, said at his Senate confirmation hearing on Wednesday.

In response to Blinken’s comment, Russia warned the United States on Thursday against supplying arms to Ukrainian forces.

Hours before Biden was due to arrive in Kiev, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich cautioned against “a major change in policy of the (U.S.) administration in regard to the conflict” in Ukraine.

U.S. [republican] Senator John McCain, an Arizona Republican, said he had not been briefed on the new non-lethal aid but called it “a continuation of the ridiculous.”

“They are fighting against people with lethal weapons. They need lethal weapons to fight back. It is disgraceful and shameful that we won’t give them lethal weapons,” McCain told Reuters.