News / Europe

Kremlin Official Calls Ukraine Authorities ‘West’s Henchmen’

President Vladimir Putin heads a meeting of Russia's Security Council in Moscow's Kremlin July 22, 2014. Nikolai Patrushev is the third from the left.
President Vladimir Putin heads a meeting of Russia's Security Council in Moscow's Kremlin July 22, 2014. Nikolai Patrushev is the third from the left.
Jurij Hiltajczuk

A Kremlin official has accused Ukrainian authorities in Kyiv of being “henchmen,” acting on orders from the West.

“The West's henchman came to power [in February] and have now, in my opinion, lost some of their sovereignty,  independence in decision-making and are acting under orders,” said Nikolai Patrushev, a top security aide to Russian President Vladimir Putin. 

He spoke to journalists following a Russian Security Council meeting Tuesday in Moscow, as concerns grow among Russia’s leaders about the West’s reaction to the crisis over Ukraine and what they view as aggressive moves on the part of NATO.

Putin himself addressed the issue during the Security Council meeting.

“We will adequately and proportionately respond to NATO's military infrastructure closing in on our borders,” Putin said in a statement published on the Kremlin’s website.

Rhetoric

Russia has upped its rhetoric having been widely accused in the West of being directly or indirectly involved in the downing last week over eastern Ukraine of a Malaysian Airlines passenger jet, which killed all 298 people on board. Ukraine, the United States and European Union countries believe the plane was shot down with a surface-to-air-missile by Russia-backed rebels.

The plane’s downing, met with outrage in the West, has triggered renewed calls for Russia to change course.

"Now's the time for President Putin and Russia to pivot away from the strategy that they've been taking and get serious about trying to resolve hostilities within Ukraine," President Barack Obama said on Monday.

Both the U.S. and Europe are considering new sanctions.

Moscow denies involvement both in the downing of the plane as well as in the backing of rebels in eastern Ukraine, with Russian media circulating theories of a Western conspiracy against Russia.

Perceived threaths

Speaking in broader terms about what he views as aggressive moves on the part of the West, Putin claimed Tuesday that the missile defense system being pushed by the West in Eastern Europe is in fact an offensive weapon, “part of the offensive-defensive arsenal of the United States.”

“In fact, formations of NATO troops in Eastern European countries are being demonstratively enhanced, including in the waters of the Black and Baltic Seas, with the scope and intensity of operational and combat training being increased,” the Russian leader said.

Putin added that the developments are forcing Russia to bolster its own defense capabilities, including those in Crimea, where he said Moscow will have to "essentially rebuild [its] military infrastructure."

Russia, which has been maintaining military bases in Crimea on the basis of a land-lease agreement it had reached with Kyiv’s previous government, annexed the Ukrainian peninsula in March, triggering the largest tensions in East-West relations since the Cold War.

A new, pro-Western government took over in Kyiv after massive street protests toppled a Russia-backed president in February.

Rare criticism
 
Meanwhile, in remarks critical of Kremlin policies rarely seen in Russian media, a Putin ally warned on Tuesday that Russia risks international isolation over its anti-Western rhetoric.
 
Alexei Kudrin, a former finance minister credited with repairing Russia fiscally after the country’s financial crisis in the 1990s, said its current approach could isolate the nation and derail its modernization.
 
"There are forces in the country who have long wanted to distance us, who have wanted isolation, perhaps some kind of self-reliance,” ITAR-TASS quoted Kudrin as saying.
 
“All this has fallen onto fertile ground and I'm just surprised at the scale of the anti-Western rhetoric which has emerged here,” Kudrin added.
 
Commenting on the Ukraine crisis in particular, Kudrin said that “Russia in no way should interfere with military forces in the situation in east Ukraine.” He said that such interference would bring with it “uncontrollable risks on both, the economic and political levels.”
 

You May Like

Australia-Cambodia Resettlement Agreement Raises Concerns

Agreement calls for Cambodia to accept refugees in return for $35 million in aid and reflects Australia’s harder line approach towards asylum seekers and refugees More

India Looks to Become Arms Supplier Instead of Buyer

US hopes India can become alternative to China for countries looking to buy weapons, but experts question growth potential of Indian arms industry More

Earth Day Concert, Rally Draws Thousands in Washington

President Obama also took up the issue Saturday in his weekly address, saying there 'no greater threat to our planet than climate change' More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?i
X
Steve Sandford
April 17, 2015 12:50 AM
Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Sierra Leone President Koroma Bemoans Ebola Impact on Economy

In an interview with VOA's Shaka Ssali on Wednesday, President Ernest Koroma said the outbreak undermined his government’s efforts to boost and restructure the economy after years of civil war.
Video

Video Protester Lands Gyrocopter on Capitol Lawn

A 61-year-old mailman from Florida landed a small aircraft on the Capitol lawn in Washington to bring attention to campaign finance reform and what he says is government corruption. Wednesday's incident was one in a string of security breaches on U.S. government property. Zlatica Hoke reports the gyrocopter landing violated a no-fly zone.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.
Video

Video Sidemen to Famous Blues Artists Record Their Own CD

Legendary blues singer BB King was briefly hospitalized last week and the 87-year-old “King of the Blues” may not be touring much anymore. But some of the musicians who have played with him and other blues legends have now released their own CD in an attempt to pass the torch to younger fans... and put their own talents out front as well. VOA’s Greg Flakus has followed this project over the past year and filed this report from Houston.
Video

Video Iran-Saudi Rivalry Is Stoking Conflict in Yemen

Iran has proposed a peace plan to end the conflict in Yemen, but the idea has received little support from regional rivals like Saudi Arabia. They accuse Tehran of backing the Houthi rebels, who have forced Yemen’s president to flee to Riyadh, and have taken over swaths of Yemen. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA, analysts say the conflict is being fueled by the Sunni-Shia rivalry between the two regional powers.

VOA Blogs