Upper house

Russian-Ukrainian tension: “Regional conflict, not global… Delhi must maintain normal relations”

The operations in Ukraine mark a “regional conflict” and all other countries, including India, should continue to maintain normal relations with Moscow, Andrey A Klimov, an influential member of the upper house of the Parliament of the Russian Federation and head of the ruling section of international affairs of the United Russia party, said Thursday.

“India is a great democratic state with a long democratic tradition. It is an independent state. Of course, we would like to have India, as we have done in the past, as a strategic partner and friend, partner of the state and friend of our people. So we are looking at our relationship with India in that way,” Klimov said in a phone interview from Moscow to The Indian Express hours before Prime Minister Narendra Modi was due to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“We respect India as a sovereign state. We don’t want to involve anyone else in this conflict, it’s a regional conflict. And it is not necessary (that others are involved in this). The best thing for the rest of the world is to pursue normal relations with Russia because it is not fruitful and very dangerous to escalate the regional conflict into a global one,” Klimov said.

Asked to comment on China’s signal of support for the Russian military operation and Delhi’s tensions with Beijing over the Line of Effective Control, Klimov, considered close to the Kremlin, said: “This (conflict) is not about the China and Russia, it is about Russia and our neighbors on the western borders of my country China’s position is China’s position, the same for India, but it is not for the changes in other parts of the world… When, for example, people in Beijing, they talk about understanding the Russian position, that’s their view of the situation.”

Klimov said Russia’s national interests come first. “First, the territory – to protect the people of the Russian Federation on the territory of the Russian Federation; secondly, to give us the opportunity to develop our economy, the Russian economy. But listen, if people like (Ukrainian President Volodymyr) Zelensky declare their intention to have a nuclear weapon against Russia, it really crosses a red line, and we can’t just wait and wait when they can carry out this very plan , very dangerous, not just for us, for the rest of the world, ”said the 67-year-old parliamentarian, also vice-chairman of the upper house’s international affairs committee.

Klimov said that Russia has good relations with all the countries of the world and that parts of Europe and North America are building “a fortress against the rest of the world because they are the successors of the colonialists and imperialists”.

He accused US President Joe Biden of “organizing and carrying out” a “coup” in Ukraine in 2014 when he was Vice President in the Obama administration, and said that since then the country was in the thrall of “pro-American politicians, pro-American bureaucrats, pro-American military, and some other radicals”.

The events of 2014 led to the “degradation” of Ukraine’s economy, extremism and “incessant civil war” in the east of the country, Klimov said. “And the purpose of our decisions from mid-February was to protect civilians in the republics of Lugansk and Donetsk.”

He denied that Russia was planning regime change in Ukraine. “Look, we don’t want any kind of invasion or interference in other states. It’s not our job. And that’s not our method. This is the method of Washington and a few others. And it is up to Ukrainians to build their own political system, according to their own laws by or through their own politicians, elected by their people,” he said.

He claimed that the occupation of Ukraine was not on Russia’s agenda. Asked how the conflict could now be reduced and resolved, he said Russia’s first demand would be for Ukraine to establish a federal system.

“We are looking for the start of negotiations between Kyiv, Lugansk and Donetsk, then we are ready to continue our dialogue with Western countries, members of NATO, and the United States in particular peaceful coexistence in Europe. We are ready to continue this dialogue, but in a very constructive way, no blah, blah, blah.”

He said Russia would also continue to provide a “humanitarian umbrella” for Russians in these territories against attacks by “extremists, soldiers of fortune” and some Ukrainian troops, “who would rather kill Ukrainians than build their own. country in the right way…they ruined their own country, Russia didn’t”.

Asked about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s threat that any intervention by outside forces in the conflict would bring “consequences” the kind the world had never seen before, Klimov said it was not a threatens.

“It means that the Russian state is really a powerful state. So we don’t want to have any jokes or attempts to intervene in Russia from any side. So this is our seriousness. It’s not a threat to the rest. It is a kind of explanation of reality”.