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.


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

Photogallery Belgian Security Measures Foreshadow New Normal for Europe

Rising threat of terrorism, disaffected Muslim populations and open borders, along with refugee, migrant crisis, are creating perfect storm for Europe, which some analysts fear continent is ill-suited to weather

Competing Claims of Responsibility for Mali Hotel Attack

Malian authorities ask public for help in identifying gunmen killed in attack, amid conflicting claims of responsibility from multiple jihadist groups active in the country

Video Debt-ridden Refugees Await Onslaught of Lebanese Winter

Aid agencies are attempting to reduce potentially devastating consequences of freezing conditions and snowstorms that killed eight last year, including three Syrian refugees

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against ISi
November 24, 2015 3:04 AM
The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs