Russian FM: Kerry's threats vs Russia unacceptable, West sides with neo-Nazis

Training in hand combat among opposition fighters from the nationalist organization "Right sector" in a camp on Independence Square in Kiev. (RIA Novosti / Andrey Stenin)Training in hand combat among opposition fighters from the nationalist organization “Right sector” in a camp on Independence Square in Kiev. (RIA Novosti / Andrey Stenin). 

The Russian Foreign Ministry has said “unacceptable threats” by US Secretary of State John Kerry over Crimea failed to take into account the violent power seizure in Kiev carried out by radicals.
In the statement released Monday, the ministry said Kerry’s  “Cold War” rhetoric would do nothing to punish  “radical extremists” who carried out the coup, but rather sought  to put the focus on Russia. It was also critical of the G7’s  decision to suspend preparations for the upcoming G8 summit in  Sochi, saying the move was unjustified.
The Foreign Ministry accused Washington and its allies of turning  a blind eye to the excesses of what it called militant,  Russophobic and anti-Semitic forces operating on Kiev’s central  Independence Square, which pushed for the ouster of Ukraine’s  embattled President Viktor Yanukovych last month.
“Not bothering to make any effort to understand the complex  processes occurring within Ukrainian society or make an objective  assessment of the environment, which is furthering the  degradation following the forceful seizure of power in Kiev by  radical extremists, [Secretary of State John Kerry] operates with  a ‘Cold War’ stamp, offering not to punish those who carried out  the government overthrow, but the Russian Federation,” the  statement said.
“And while glossing over this, the USA and its allies have  closed their eyes to the excesses of the radical fighters on  Maidan, their bullying of political opponents and ordinary  citizens, as well as their anti-Semitism and militant  Russophobia.”
Moscow further accused European powers of standing idly by while  the “newly born Kiev regime” trampled on the EU mediated  agreement of February 21, in which Yanukovich reached a deal with  the opposition to settle the crisis. The ministry noted the  foreign ministers of France, Germany and Poland had signed off on  the document which was thrown out of the window when opposition  forces seized power the next day. In the process, the West has  effectively allied itself with neo-Nazis who are smashing up  Orthodox churches and synagogues while “declaring war on the  Russian language.”
On Sunday, Kerry threatened to isolate Russia economically and  politically for deploying troops in the Crimea to protect the  majority Russian speaking population, which Moscow says is under  threat.
“You just don’t invade another country on phony pretext in  order to assert your interests,” Kerry said during an  interview with NBC’s Meet the Press. “This is an act of  aggression that is completely trumped up in terms of its pretext.  It’s really 19th century behaviour in the 21st century.”
“There could be certainly disruption of any of the normal  trade routine, there could be business drawback on investment in  the country,” he continued. “There could even be  ultimately asset freezes, visa bans.”

G8 gambit

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich on  Monday warned that suspending preparations for the upcoming Group  of 8 summit in Sochi would not only damage the member states, but  the entire international community.
“In connection with a number of well-known statements from  Group of Eight members, the decision to suspend work within the  framework of the Russian presidency in the international  structure will motivate nothing,” the spokesman said.
“It is not only politically defective, but also contrary to  the principles of constructive cooperation of this format, which  is oriented towards using the combined potential of the G8 in the  interests of development, global stability, and the fight against  transnational challenges and threats.”
Lukashevich said that he hopes that as opposed to the prevailing  politicized climate in some capitals, they member states would be  able to continue working together in the G8.
“The Russian side is ready for this,” he said.
On Sunday, the G7 – Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the  United Kingdom and the United States – along with the President  of the European Council and the President of the European  Commission condemned Russia for what it called a”clear violation  of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.”
“Russia’s actions in the Ukraine also contravene the principles  and values on which the G-7 and the G-8 operate. As such, we have  decided for the time being to suspend our participation in  activities associated with the preparation of the scheduled G-8  Summit in Sochi in June, until the environment comes back where  the G-8 is able to have a meaningful discussion.”
Kerry issued a starker warning, saying that not only the upcoming  G8 summit in Sochi, but Russia’s membership in the global forum,  were at risk.
“He is not going to have a Sochi G8, he may not even remain  in the G8 if this continues,” Kerry said. “He may find  himself with asset freezes, on Russian business, American  business may pull back, there may be a further tumble of the  ruble.”
The 40th G8 summit is to be held on June 4-5 at the Black Sea  resort of Sochi. If the meeting goes ahead, the leaders are  expected to focus on responses to new global threats.

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