YouTube Added: Mar 10, 2014
Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder says the European Union (EU) is responsible for the situation in Ukraine’s Crimea as its policy toward the Eastern European country was erroneous in the first place.
Schroeder made the comments on Sunday in Hamburg during a press event, in which he said that Brussels made a mistake in the outset when it offered Ukraine an association agreement on “either/or” terms.
The former chancellor wondered if it was right to offer Ukraine, which is a culturally divided country, an alternative of either signing the deal with the EU or a customs agreement with Russia.
Schroeder said it would have instead been more reasonable to offer Ukraine a “both/and” alternative.
He was referring to the ousted Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych refraining from signing the association agreement with the EU in favor of closer ties with Russia in November 2013 that triggered the political crisis in the country.
The remarks come amid the standoff between Russia and the West over Ukraine’s autonomous territory of Crimea.
Amid increasingly violent protests, Yanukovych left Ukraine for Russia and a new pro-EU government was formed in Kiev.
Subsequently, and as the protests inside mainland Ukraine lost momentum with the departure of Yanukovych, a crisis began to emerge in Ukraine’s Crimea, where a large majority of ethnic Russians reside and where Russia has a naval base.
Troops, who wear military apparel that bears no insignia but who are largely believed to be Russian, were deployed to several locations in Crimea, taking control of key points in the region.
Last week, lawmakers in Crimea unanimously declared they wanted to join Russia and would put the decision to a referendum on March 16.
The new Ukrainian government, however, has declared the planned vote illegal.