22 Jul 2014

Flight MH17 – Putin tacks to restrain EU

Brussels is under a leaden sky today for a foreign ministers’ meeting that is expected to be dominated by the issues of Russia and Ukraine.

Russia's President Putin chats with Foreign Minister Lavrov as they attend the VI BRICS Summit in Fortaleza

One source who’d cast an eye over the draft conclusions suggested they were “lamentable” and hardly added to past communiques. Foreign ministers are meeting now with some determined to harden up the language.

“Putin follows our diaries, knows when we’re meeting,” one EU diplomat told me. The Russian president will have “carefully calibrated” the small and late progress in dealing with the victims of the Malaysian plane to coincide with the gathering of 28 foreign ministers in Brussels today, the diplomat suggested.

The statement that Flight MH17’s black box flight recorder would be handed over and the access granted to investigators at the crash site are seen as the result of strings pulled from Moscow to mitigate EU action. Though some of those most reluctant here to act against Russia will need little encouragement to stay their hand.

The foreign ministers are expected to ask EU officials to prepare another list of Russian business chiefs to add to those already given pariah status. The eventual list could come closer than previous ones to Putin’s inner circle.

But the Tier 3 sectoral sanctions first drafted by the European Commission last April will remain in the drawer. One EU diplomat called them a “deterrent” that shouldn’t be used – it would be a sign of failure, the official said, if they were deployed.

David Cameron in the Commons yesterday indicated that Britain would be pushing for an embargo on future defence contracts but it’s not clear how far that will get.

In their defence, some EU diplomats say major Russian businesses are struggling to find loans, feeling the pinch on their movements and investments. But last week, the EU very nearly appointed as foreign affairs spokesperson someone – Italy’s foreign affairs minister, Federica Mogherini – as the foreign affairs person for the whole 28.

Today President Hollande reportedly said that he might hold back on one of the two French-built assault helicopter ships bound for Russia (presumably on the one that’s not ready to be delivered – one is due to sail into the Black Sea this autumn).

President Hollande’s reluctance to freeze the contract completely had been attacked by President Obama and yesterday by David Cameron. Mr Hollande has now said that: “For the time being, a level of sanctions has not been decided on that would prevent this delivery. Does that mean that the rest of the contract – the second Mistral – can be carried through? That depends on Russia’s attitude.”

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3 reader comments

  1. bob says:

    Moscow has submitted a great deal of material today which raise some significant questions regarding the crash – are these questions going to be investigated by C4 News ?

  2. Philip Edwards says:


    Noam Chomsky said this on 1st February 1990:

    “…..I think the prospects for Eastern Europe are pretty dim. The West has a very clear plan for Eastern Europe. They want to turn it into a new, easily exploitable part of the Third World……’Foreign aid’ is a kind of euphemism that means funds sent to enhance US interests……And it’s shifting from Central America to Eastern Europe……Western Europe is enthusiastic about the new possibilities for exploitation. After all, the history of Europe is basically robbery and plunder and destruction all over the world. Now they’ve got this new place……That’s part of the reason for the Cold War. Now it’s being re-established. In England and Germany and France they’re ecstatic about these new opportunities. There’s lots of resources you can steal. You can set up assembly plants with lots of cheap labour……That’s the IMF system……I doubt that most of the region can resist that……when Brzezinski [Carter’s NSA adviser] recently made a big speech in Moscow talking about the wonderful triumph of capitalism, he ended up by saying, but let’s not go too far. Let’s keep the Warsaw Pact and NATO in existence……You’ve got to make sure you don’t let politics loose among these peoples, and the pact system helps prevent that. That’s one reason why European elites are quite happy with it……They want to keep some measure of confrontation going. That’s in fact a major function of the drug war and of the international terrorism hysteria……”

    Since then of course we’ve had various Western-instigated conflicts in former Soviet republics, Yugoslav Federation, the Middle East and Africa.

    Brit mainstream media personality assaults on Putin are launched as part of this programme of impoverishment of Eastern Europe – of which Ukraine’s natural resources is a crucial element. Which is why the West supported Ukrainian Nazis during the Cold War and is supporting them now. Anyone who doubts what these Nazis are like need only watch and listen to that crazy-eyed hate-filled fascist Yetsanyuk, then check their mass murders of anyone in East Ukraine who resists, then check the number of refugees streaming across the Russian border.

    Now here comes Cameron and Hague, all water pistols blazing on behalf of the Yanks and their loony State Department. Cowards the lot of them, none of whom give a hoot about the tragedy of MH17. To them it is merely another opportunity to pursue their disgusting agenda of robbing the peoples of Eastern Europe as they have robbed ordinary citizens in the West and elsewhere in the world.

    C4 News broadcasts from and about Ukraine are among the most hypocritical and disgusting propaganda even by the cowardly standards of Brit mainstream media. Frei, of course, is just another Yankified Brit with a quite obvious agenda. The same goes for your editors.

    So Chomsky was right 25 years ago. If anything, he underestimated the murderous, lying depths to which the West would sink.

    Meanwhile, the grieving families, the most important people of all in this, are used as propaganda weapons. Frei talks of “dignity and justice,” but his reports have been devoid of either concept, let alone decency and honesty.

    I hope you can avoid joining in with it all. We want honest journalism, not propaganda.

    Over to you.

  3. Ben says:

    Is it just the media that is taken in by these wannabe stars that pretend to be leaders? Their duplicity and hypocrisy exposes what we all didn’t want to believe. Unfortunately these failed stars stir up hatred and aggression whenever they feel they can get away with it. The last century showed what they were truly capable of, millions of lives extinguished.

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