Press TV has conducted an interview with Vyacheslav Matuzov, political expert, to further discuss Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych’s refusal to sign a trade deal with the EU.
What follows is an approximate transcription of the interview.
Press TV: Mr. Matuzov, we know that Yanukovych and the Russian President Vladimir Putin are discussing expansion of ties on energy, space, investment and other sectors and we know that there has also been some talks about Russia giving Ukraine a much needed loan.
Would you agree however with those who say that Viktor Yanukovych is trying to salvage his own political fate and is giving in to Russian pressure?
Matuzov: Well Russia does not press Ukraine at all. Of course Russia is interested to keep Ukraine close to Russia politically, economically but it does not use its pressure to be interpreted as an intervention in internal affairs of Ukraine. It is in the contrary.
We watched today what is going on from the Eastern Europe. Europe parliamentarians are coming to Kiev demonstrating and even camping. Polish parliamentarians are camping in Kiev in Maidan, main square of Kiev city. And so yesterday Russian TV showed John McCain arrival to Kiev and he brought with him some luggage, diplomatic luggage, eight big bags: one of them only was set for ... [his] diplomatic car and the seven other big bags were placed in Ukrainian cars and they said that it is money. Huge amount of money brought to spread, to support opposition.
I asked where is international law? How is it possible to intervene in such ugly way in the internal disturbed situation in Ukraine?
Money, money and all this was spread [among opposition]and made based on huge amounts...
So I think that not Russian intervention but European, American intervention, direct appearance in demonstrations, appearance among oppositions, take and flow, making some speeches, encouraging for revolution.
That I can say, I as a former diplomatic, my job, I cannot even imagine such kind of behaviors are suitable for current international law, independent state of Ukrainian state. I think that it is for West to think over. Russia does not [go] against Europe ...Press TV: Mr. Matuzov, do you think that Yanukovych or Ukraine basically is now standing in front of a big decision and that is a choice between Brussels and Moscow and this is the only way forward, a balance cannot be struck at this stage?
Matuzov: Of course. Yanukovych wants to join Europe and [have] friendly relations with all European countries, with European Union and Russia too. We are not reluctant to join European community but there are economical side of this issue.
If you look at Russian-European relations, all Russians efforts to avoid any Schengen visa problem and so on and open door to Europe, they are closed doors, but they want to enter Russian internal market economically through Ukraine.
Ukraine has no frontiers with Russia and all borders between Russia and Ukraine are open for goods, for a change of people and so on. When they enter economically, open doors to European goods to Ukraine, all European goods come to Russia immediately and Russia will construct a big defensive line between Ukraine and Russia.
They prohibit Ukraine goods to come to Russia to market it and I think that it will be great blow to Ukrainian economy. I do not like and I do not think Putin like to make damages to Ukraine economy but he will do this because it is defending measures to Russian economy.
And all those who are speaking about Russian reluctant to come to Europe, it is a false position. We are with Europe but we want to be on equal base but not of that of as a market for European goods.
Ukraine said it needs one hundred sixty billion euro as result of cutting relations with Russia. I think that Yanukovych refused to sign the agreement because of economical reasons not because of Russian pressure.Press TV: Mr. Matuzov, would you say that it would be a mistake for Ukraine to join the EU or even to be part of that membership, the association membership because economically it would be damaging?
Matuzov: Of course it is an understandable issue for Ukrainians. I think that when we are watching demonstrations in Kiev today, we should take into consideration one very important thing. It is population of Western regions of Ukraine but Southern region, Eastern region they are against this immediate association with Europe because it cuts all relations political, private and economic relations with Russia. They are with keeping good relations with Russia.
This current Ukrainian government, current Ukrainian President was elected president, majority of Ukraine elected him and government is absolutely ... and I think that it is the minority who are demonstrating today in Kiev not majority ...
I am afraid that ... Ukraine will be divided in pieces. I am against it but all those in Europe who are encouraging such kind of decision, they are pushing Ukraine to catastrophic decision to divide the country and it will be blown up and I think it is a dangerous way.
I think they will find a way out, ... a right solution.