West Uses Crimea As Pretext for New Arms Race With Russia

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The UK lawmaker said the West was stepping up pressure on Russia in an attempt to preserve an unipolar world dominated by the United States and its allies in Europe.

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MOSCOW (Sputnik), Daria Chernyshova — Western governments are using Crimea’s reunification with Russia as an excuse for a new arms race with Moscow, a British lawmaker told Sputnik Monday.

“Reunification of Crimea and the events in Eastern Ukraine are the excuse for this new game of tension and a potential new arms race with Russia,” George Galloway told Sputnik.

March 16 marks the first anniversary of Crimea’s referendum which saw the overwhelming majority of its residents vote for reunification with Russia, a move which the West deems illegal.

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Galloway said the West was stepping up pressure on Russia in an attempt to preserve a unipolar world dominated by the United States and its allies in Europe. He stressed that instead the West would be better off stepping up cooperation.

After Crimea voted to rejoin Russia, the European Union and the United States started to impose sanctions against Moscow. Russia has also been accused of reviving its imperial ambitions, which most recently prompted European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to suggest creating a Pan-European army.

However, Russian President Vladimir Putin stressed that the referendum had been held in full compliance with democratic procedures and rules of international law.

“Had Crimea not joined the Russian Federation I do fear a similar disaster may have befallen the people of Crimea as has befallen much of Eastern Ukraine,” George Galloway told Sputnik in an interview one year on from the referendum that paved the way for Crimea rejoining Russia.

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Unlike eastern Ukraine, which also sought to secede from Ukraine, there is peace in Crimea “and the people of the Crimea are overwhelmingly content to be reunited with a country that they used to be part of within living memory,” Galloway pointed out.

The British lawmaker recalled that Crimea had reunified with Russia at a time, when Ukraine had seen a tide of extremely unpleasant Ukrainian nationalism which threatened minorities, including Russian-speakers.

“The government of the Russian Federation always said they regarded the Russian speaking areas other than Crimea as an integral part of Ukraine so there was no threat to Ukrainian sovereignty,” Galloway said adding Moscow needed safety guarantees for the Russian-speaking minority.

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Western governments are applying double standards when they justify Scotland’s right to self-determination and deem Crimea’s referendum illegal, a member of the British parliament told Sputnik Monday.

“It is a double standard to say that Scotland, for example, has the right to choose but Crimea does not,” George Galloway told Sputnik as Crimea celebrates the first anniversary of the referendum on joining Russia.

The West does not consider Crimea’s referendum in which the overwhelming majority opted for peninsula to join Russia, as a free and democratic vote. At the same time, the West never objected to Scotland holding a public independence referendum in September 2014.

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