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

Tunnel Bombs Highlight Savagery of Aleppo Fight

Rebels have used tunneling tactic near government buildings, command posts or supply routes to set off explosives; they detonated their largest bomb this week under Syria's intelligence headquarters More

Sierra Leone Launches New Initiative to Stop Ebola Spread

Government hopes Infection and Prevention Control Units, IPC, will help protect patients and healthcare workers More

UN Official: Fight Against Terrorism Must Not Violate Human Rights

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights says efforts by states to combat terrorism are resulting in large scale rights violations against the very citizens they claim to defend More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boyi
X
Jeff Seldin
March 05, 2015 2:36 AM
A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video African Americans Recall 1960s Fight For Voting Rights

U.S. President Barack Obama and thousands of people will gather in the small southern U.S. city of Selma, Alabama, Saturday, March 7 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic voting rights march that became known as “Bloody Sunday." VOA’s Chris Simkins traveled to Alabama and introduces us to some of the foot soldiers of the voting rights struggles of the 1960s.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More