Clashes in Kiev and other cities of Ukraine continue, even though the government and opposition concluded a truce. Meanwhile, in the Crimea, people discuss an opportunity to separate from Ukraine and address Russia with a request to be accepted in the structure of the Russian Federation.
State Duma deputy from the Communist Party of the sixth convocation, Admiral Igor Kasatonov, believes that the current state of affairs in Ukraine is dangerous not only for the country but also for Europe on the whole. Yet, Russia should not interfere in the conflict, the expert said.
"Do you think there is a chance for Ukraine to collapse?"
"This is a very serious question, of course. The current events in Kiev already go beyond the framework of civilized order. Those who organize these events are playing with fire, because this is so serious that it can spread anywhere else afterwards. In general, this is Europe, and if such things occur there, then this is very dangerous.
"As for the collapse of Ukraine, I can not say anything for the time being. Russia and Ukraine are closest neighbors, fraternal friends. There are more than a dozen of various agreements, contracts, etc. and, of course, it would be very difficult to put it all into question. In this regard, I would like, of course, not to think about the breakup of Ukraine. Ukraine needs to stabilize the situation as soon as possible, because it is not only Russia, but also all Europe that needs stable Ukraine."
"In the Crimea, there are voices calling for secession from Ukraine and transition under the Russian protectorate. To which extent is it real?"
"I think it is unreal, because there are appropriate arrangements between Russia and Ukraine. Russia recognized the integrity of Ukraine as it is now. Personally, I do not like the fact that the Crimea is a Ukrainian territory, because I have lived for more than 50 years in Sevastopol, in Russia, but one should not violate international agreements in any case. In this respect, initial steps will be wrong, either from the Russian side, or any other side. One must resolve internal problems of Ukraine in the first place. If there is an agreement, then both sides should observe it."
"Is the Crimea an irritant in Russian-Ukrainian relations? Or is this problem artificial?"
"In the long run, it is an irritant. This problem is hidden away deep, but it would be incorrect to raise this question to discussion. There are international agreements and treaties that we all should observe.
"But I would remind you that there is a decision from the Supreme Council from 1992, when the Crimean issue was raised and the entire procedure for the transfer of the Crimea from Russia to Ukraine was found unlawful. Yet, for the time being, everything should remain as it is."
Leading expert of the Center for Military and Political Studies of MGIMO, Mikhail Alexandrov, shared his views with Pravda.Ru about what may await President Yanukovych in the near future.
"The West has created the "fifth column" in Ukraine, which is now armed, trying to seize power, and there is nothing to oppose to it. The Party of Regions was actually impotent.
"If we had the forces the capacity of which could be comparable to the forces of the Western side, they would now be able to operate independently. They could crush Maidan without Yanukovych. They could seize power in eastern Ukraine. That is, if Yanukovych is not capable of handling his power, they would use power themselves, defeat radicals and take power in the east and south of Ukraine.
"Now we have the situation when Ukrainian radicals impose their agenda. Yanukovych decided to disperse the Maidan in a very accurate way. Yanukovych is afraid to use firearms against the bandits who kill Berkut soldiers. How can one use batons against the criminals who kill people? They should be shot with automatic fire, and law and order would be restored in Kiev immediately.
"Yanukovych hopes that he can still improve relations with the West. After all, his policy was about maneuvering between Russia and the West. He hopes that as long as he does not use force against the radicals, then he can still become an acceptable leader for the West. This is silly self-deception. Because the West has already written Yanukovych off.
The West holds Yanukovych accountable for everything that happens and will happen in Ukraine. It does not matter how many people he killed - one or one hundred. Yanukovych has been chosen as a scapegoat. The only way for him to resist, to retain power and even life - is to stand very determined, to fight to the end, and hope for support from Moscow.
"Moscow is now too afraid to openly support him, because who knows where he goes next. Let's say Russia supports him now, but he takes a U-turn as he did in 2004, and Russia will look like a fool again. So Putin takes a very cautious position, he is not certain about Yanukovych.
"Yanukovych must at first show his strength and defeat radicals. If necessary, he should ask assistance from Russia. Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov said that Russia would use its influence to stabilize the situation in Ukraine. This may mean that Russia may help Yanukovych to restore order in the country with the use of military force," Mikhail Alexandrov said.