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Andrei Sannikov: Putin is a deadly threat to Europe and the whole world  ? 24

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Andrei Sannikov: Putin is a deadly threat to Europe and the whole world

Belarusians should support Ukrainians and fight inside and outside the county for preserving independence.

This came from the leader of the European Belarus civic campaign and a former presidential candidate Andrei Sannikov as he commented on the situation in Ukraine for Radio Svaboda.

- How would you assess the Crimean referendum?

- The outcomes cannot be assessed in any way, because by international law an illegitimate referendum took place at gunpoint, in the conditions of occupation. How could this be assessed? Assessed should be those, who recognize this referendum, including the so-called international observers, who were present there, despite the European Union had claimed the referendums illegal character.

- What will Russia do next in regards to Ukraine?

- One should understand, that the Crimean referendum is a part of Russias plan to annex the Crimea and the East of Ukraine. It is obvious that is exactly what Russia plans. Russias further actions will completely depend on the West. The fact that yesterday the European Union introduced soft sanctions against a small number of officials gives Russia carte blanche to aggravate the aggression to fulfill their plans. I can see that this not even being disguised today. As a result, Russia in an increasingly more aggressive and persistent manner speaks of the necessity to reconsider international relation that have settled after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

- Will any sanctions or threats from European Union countrys statements be able to make Russia drop its plan?

- I hope they will proceed with sanctions. And that those will not only be applied to people, but other targets. There are many economic and military connections with European countries and the USA that are important to Russia. I understand this situation in the following way: a clash of world views happened. The West does not understand that Russia is unable to compromise. For Russia it is a zero-sum game. Whereas the West is looking for a compromise. So the West should understand that first you should show strength, and only then look for a compromise. So far it is only Russia that has demonstrated strength. It was all prepared last year, which could be called Putins year, when he pulled the West in an unacceptable, from my point of view, scenario on Syria and Iran. Now Putin continues an attack on Western values, only now with the use of military force.

- Many are speaking now of the threat to other countries on the part of Russia. First of all this relates to Belarus.

- In Belarus there is a dictatorship. There are already occupants in Belarus. I felt it very well as I was behind bars. I saw how my torturers denied that they were Belarusians, they said they swore to the Soviet Union.

The dictatorship in Belarus is supported by Russia. It was the same in Ukraine. Now Putin is protecting not Russian interests, but his regime. For Ukraine he is using Yanukovych to at least somehow legitimize his actions.

The same regime is in place in Belarus. That is why the fact that Lukashenka is reacting to the events in a somewhat reserved manner can be interpreted as he very well understands that there will be no hesitation here to remove him, when it becomes necessary for the Kremlin.

In general, Lukashenka is in a very difficult situation. I will say it again that very much strongly depends on the Wests further steps. We, Belarusians, should support Ukrainians as fight inside and outside Belarus for preserving independence and keeping a chance for a democratic development of our country. I think a complicated period will follow, because what is taking place now is a deadly threat to Europe and the whole world.

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