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    Putin hints at US driving wedge between Russia-EU
    June 6, 2015, 5:37 am

    Russian President Vladimir Putin with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Moscow on 10 May 2015 [PPIO]

    Russian President Vladimir Putin with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Moscow on 10 May 2015 [PPIO]

    Ahead of a G7 Summit that begins Sunday, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that ‘some countries are simply taking advantage of people’s fears with regard to Russia’ in an interview in Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera on Saturday.

    “For example, the Americans do not want Russia’s rapprochement with Europe. I am not asserting this, it is just a hypothesis. Let’s suppose that the United States would like to maintain its leadership in the Atlantic community. It needs an external threat, an external enemy to ensure this leadership,” he said adding that Ukraine became one such example.

    UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman has told the UN Security Council that he is concerned there is complete lack of humanitarian access in eastern Ukraine.

    On Thursday, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg accused Moscow of sending sophisticated new weapons to rebels fighting Kiev forces in eastern Ukraine, including artillery and anti-aircraft systems.

    US President Barack Obama will urge EU leaders to keep sanctions in place against Russia at the G7 summit in Germany, US officials said.

    More than a quarter of the EU’s total gas needs were met by Russian gas, and some 80 per cent of it came via Ukrainian pipelines.

    “The EU is set to be dependent on Russian gas for some time and that’s the reality,” the International Energy Association’s executive director Maria van der Hoeven had told the European Commission in Brussels in December.

    Meanwhile, on Saturday, Putin told the Italian daily that the West is reluctant to acknowledge the legitimacy of trade blocs led by Russia.

    “I am referring to the Customs Union, which we created and which has now grown into the Eurasian Economic Union. Because it is all right when integration takes place in Europe, but if we do the same in the territory of the former Soviet Union, they try to explain it by Russia’s desire to restore an empire. I don’t understand the reasons for such an approach,” Putin said.

    The Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) of Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia started functioning in January 2015.

    The EAEU will create a common market for 171 million people. Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan have also expressed interest in joining. That would bring it to a total of 217 million.

    “Why does everything in the world have to be an ‘answer’ to the EU, the US or its allies? Eurocentrism and American ‘hubris’ (the extension of former colonial European hubris) is one of many reasons why western media frame the matter this way. The idea that other countries, regions, economies might have their own agenda, their own interests, their own vision on the world independent from ‘us’ is unfathomable for most Europeans,” writes former Belgian Parliament speaker Lode Vanoost for The BRICS Post.

    Meanwhile, on Saturday, the Russian President also said that the “coup d’état” in Ukraine resulted in the severing of economic ties between Russian and Ukraine.

    “The European Union unilaterally removed its customs duties for Ukraine. However, the volume of Ukraine’s sales to the European market did not grow. Why not? Because there is nothing to sell. There is no demand in the European market for Ukrainian products, either in terms of quality or price, in addition to the products that were already sold before. We have a market for Ukraine, but many ties have been severed unilaterally by the Ukrainian side,” he noted.

    On the fighting that rages in eastern Ukraine between rebels and Ukraine forces, Putin said “only our European and American partners can influence this situation.”

    “Russia is interested in and will strive to ensure the full and unconditional implementation of the Minsk Agreements,” he said.



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