The head of the center for US-Russian relations at the Institute of USA and Canada, Pavel Podlesny, shared his views with Pravda.Ru of the current state of affairs in the relations between Russia and the West against the background of the situation in Ukraine.
"How would you comment the reactions to the decision of the Federation Council to deploy limited military contingent in the Crimea in Ukraine?"
"I would not hurry with the assessment of events that are far from being complete, and a lot of things here still requires careful analysis. First, Russia has not deployed additional troops, but only used the opportunities in the Crimea that it has, in particular, the opportunities associated with the Black Sea Fleet.
Secondly, it is still unknown whether Russia will send the contingent there. It depends on how the situation will unfold in the Crimea. Third, Ukraine is unlikely to do anything here in terms of any type of interference in the Crimean affairs. And I believe that it is absolutely impossible that NATO may intervene."
"The Crimean authorities say that they will negotiate with Ukraine, but they have said many times before that they refused to recognize the power in Kiev legitimate."
"With regard to the Crimean leaders, who said that they would build relations with Ukraine by means of agreements, one shall bear in mind the fact that there was referendum scheduled for May 25 about the improvement of the autonomous status of the Crimea. That is the referendum would be about the return of the constitution from 1992, when the Crimea enjoyed large autonomy, could elect its own president, and so on and so forth.
Now the situation is changing. First, the referendum was postponed till March 30. Second, if you believe what the Crimean leaders say, they will make the referendum about the state status of Crimea. In short, it can be interpreted that the referendum could raise the issue of independence of the Crimea. I think that if they do, Russia may recognize the new state. Naturally, Ukraine will not recognize that, there is nothing Ukraine can really do. If the Crimea becomes an independent state, then they will negotiate as independent states."
"What are the prospects of relations between Russia and the West in light of the current events? What Russia may experience as a result of possible sanctions from the USA and other countries that promise complete economic isolation of the Russian Federation should Russia deploy troops in the Crimea? Is there a threat of a new round of the Cold War?"
"I would not rush to make conclusions here either, except for one thing. The West does not need another "cold war" with Russia. The West does not want to see its relations with Russia in ruins. None of NATO countries will go to war with Russia because of that. I completely exclude it. Now the West plans some possible sanctions against Russia. These sanctions and their scale will depend on how the situation in Ukraine unfolds, and what further actions Russia will take.
"It is now clear that the G8 meeting in Sochi will not take place in June. Four members of the group have suspended preparations to the summit. Although Italy, Japan and Germany have not said anything on the subject. It is possible, though, that the G8 will gather for the summit somewhere else, without Russia," the expert told Pravda.Ru.
Meanwhile, the State Duma of the Russian Federation has registered a bill about the annexation of the Crimea to the Russian Federation, the Ukrainskaya Pravda reports.
The document stipulates for the "annexation of the subject based on the results of the referendum conducted in accordance with the law of a foreign state on the territory of the given part of a foreign state."
In addition, the bill says, "should a part of the foreign state be incorporated in the Russian Federation as a new entity, this territory shall be provided the status of a republic, region, territory or an autonomous region in accordance with the international agreement. If there is no international agreement to regulate the issue, the status shall be provided in accordance with the federal constitutional law about the incorporation of a new entity into the Russian Federation.
The explanatory memorandum to the bill openly mentions the Crimea.
By summer, the Russian army may break through Ukrainian defences, reach Odessa and liberate Transnistria. The West will only “condemn” Russia's actions and continue supporting Chisinau in words