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euronews spoke to Russia's ambassador to the EU Vladimir Chizhov


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euronews spoke to Russia's ambassador to the EU Vladimir Chizhov

euronews:
“Your excellency, what is going on at the two airports in Crimea where reportedly your troops are being stationed?”

Russian ambassador to the EU Vladimir Chizhov:
“There are no troops whatsoever. No Russian troops, at least. The international airport of Simferopol is functioning normally. The military airport of Belbek is probably also functioning normally. Some civilians claiming to be representing groups of ‘self-defence of Crimea’ arrived at Simferopol airport overnight, but they retreated and nothing happened.”

euronews:
“Why do they think they have to defend the airport?”

Chizhov:
“Well, they have seen what was happening in Kiev and elsewhere. They have been hearing threats that so called ‘friendship trains’ loaded with armed supporters of Kiev Maidan were on their way to the Crimea.”

euronews:
“The atmosphere has become more and more tense with John Kerry, the US Secretary of State, asking Russia not to intervene, not to interfere, not to occupy…”

Chizhov:
“The United States has the tradition of interfering in other countries and sending troops overseas, maybe [they are] acting according to their own mentality.”

euronews:
“Do you feel threatened?”

Chizhov:
“We are certainly looking after our national interests. In Ukraine, there are a lot of Russian citizens. There are many Russian investments in the Ukrainian economy,
and yes, we have a military presence in the Crimea in the form of the Black Sea Fleet which has been there since the 18th century.”

euronews:
“What would you do if you feel that your interests are really threatened?”

Chizhov:
“I wouldn’t want to speculate, but of course we are closely watching the developments.”

euronews:
“The Ukrainian government, the leaders, have said that your act in installing troops in Crimea is, I quote: “invasion” and “occupation” by Russia.”

Chizhov:
“These allegations are baseless.”

euronews:
“How do you see the reality of the situation now in Ukraine?”

Chizhov:
“The opposition, having signed on 21 February an agreement with president Yanukovic, which was witnessed by three EU foreign ministers, did not fulfill any of their obligations. The armed groups did not disarm, the administrative buildings were not vacated, the subsequent events in the parliament…”

euronews:
“But these are the people and that is the parliament. This is democracy.”

Chizhov:
“Democracy means elections. Elections that did take place in Ukraine, and actually those who, today, try to portray the current situation as a transition from a dictatorship to democracy are those same people and same countries, the same governments that acknowledged that presidential elections in Ukraine in 2010 were democratic free and fair. President Yanukovych was recognised as a democratically-elected leader and the EU was actually planning to sign an association agreement with him and nobody else.”

euronews:
“For me, it is simpler than that. You see, it is a transition from one form of government to another by the parliament.”

Chizhov:
“These are indeed elected people, but a third of the members do not participate. There are no representatives of the eastern part of the country, from the southern part of the county and only a limited number of political factions are represented.”

euronews:
“How do you see the role of the West, the EU and America in all that?”

Chizhov:
“Both the EU and the United States did not escape the temptation of siding with one side.

euronews:
“Your Excellency, if the worst come to the worst, would you be prepared to take military action against Ukraine?

Chizhov:
I don’t want to speculate about the worst, I am hoping for better. I am a born optimist.”

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