Ex-French Presidential Candidate: West Upended Minsk Agreements, Now Reaps What It Sowed in Ukraine
11:38 GMT 24.02.2022 (Updated: 17:14 GMT 12.04.2023)
© Sputnik / Сергей АверинDonbass militiaman holds up piece of shell fired on his comrades' position by Kiev forces in Western Donetsk. 15 February 2022.
© Sputnik / Сергей Аверин/
On 21 February, Russia recognised the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics (DPR and LPR) triggering a storm of criticism from the West. Jacques Cheminade, president of the French party Solidarité & Progrès and former French presidential candidate has discussed Russia's security concerns and future Russo-European relations with Sputnik.
Jacques Cheminade: "This interview was conducted on 22 February, i.e. prior to Russia's military operation in Ukraine. As I say in the conclusion of the interview, an international conference on a new international security architecture, as requested by the Schiller Institute, is needed more than ever to prevent war from becoming a substitute to diplomacy and mutual economic interest".
Sputnik: What's your take on Russia's decision to recognise DPR and LPR after Kiev had torpedoed the Minsk Agreements for eight years? Why aren't the US and the EU listening to Moscow's arguments?
Jacques Cheminade: The US, the United Kingdom, and the EU form a bloc of states under a double control: financially of the City of London and Wall Street and militarily from the Pentagon. Under the conditions of the monetary and financial crisis hitting the Western nations, their real aim is to keep Russia and China from economically and technologically developing because they fear to be challenged. Their way of thinking is geopolitical, to win at the expense of the other, and not to build a common system of military stability and shared economic development.
Beyond this crucial aspect, the Biden administration, under the rule of its spin doctors, is trying to play the "Ukraine crisis" for domestic reasons in the US, to convey the illusion that the US is "tough with Russia", expecting that it will "electorally pay" thanks to the slanderous anti-Russian and anti-Putin campaign pursued by the media.
This way of thinking – or better say non-thinking – infects even the more "moderate" sectors of Europe. For example, Jean-Yves le Drian, the French minister of European and Foreign affairs, has declared that "for him [Sergei Lavrov], it is Ukraine which is responsible for the non-respect of the Minsk Agreements on the Donbass. In brief, he [Lavrov] is in a position of pure denial". So, such Western types have the nerve to accuse their partner, in that case Russia, of their own deeds and calculations, as if it was Russia and not Ukraine, supported by mainly the US and Great Britain, which prevented the Minsk II Agreements from being enforced.
© Photo : Solidarité & Progrès / Jacques Cheminade, President of Solidarité & Progrès, at the French National Association of Mayors in 2017
Jacques Cheminade, President of Solidarité & Progrès, at the French National Association of Mayors in 2017
© Photo : Solidarité & Progrès /
Sputnik: France is the only major European country that appeared to have taken Russia's security concerns about NATO expansion seriously. Would you agree that Russia's "red lines" with regard to NATO's expansion corresponds to pan-European security?
Jacques Cheminade: Russia's "red lines" with regard to NATO's expansion are not only legitimate but do correspond to the security and stability of all Europe, "from the Atlantic to the Urals", as General de Gaulle used to say. The present crisis, as noted by a number of Russian and Western strategists, is like the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis in reverse. It is now Russia which is facing the deployment of American and NATO nuclear missiles next to its borders, despite what was pledged by the main Western powers at the fall of the Berlin Wall and the reunification of Germany, that NATO was not going to deploy further than the borders of the reunified Germany. There was not a written agreement on this because, as Mikhail Gorbachev said, "we thought we were negotiating with people of good company and unfortunately for us it was not the case".
That is the reason why President Putin is demanding a written agreement to stop the expansion of NATO and the deployment of nuclear weapons in Eastern Europe, next to Russia's borders. The US refuses [to provide] a written commitment on the main questions concerning Russia's security, while at the same time it has unilaterally withdrawn from three main peace agreements dating from the period of the Cold War: the ABM Treaty (on anti-missile missiles), the INF Treaty (on intermediate range missiles), and the Open Skies Treaty (sharing information on military flights).
In that context, it is true that President Macron has to some extent taken Russia's concerns about NATO's expansion seriously. But as some observers noted, the fact that he remains part of the NATO bloc greatly reduces his credibility. That is why my fight is to create the political and economic conditions for France to leave the integrated NATO command and in doing so, to recover its sovereignty.
© Photo : Solidarité & ProgrèsJacques Cheminade, President of Solidarité & Progrès, in the streets of Toulouse 2017
Jacques Cheminade, President of Solidarité & Progrès, in the streets of Toulouse 2017
© Photo : Solidarité & Progrès
Sputnik: The US is going to roll out a new package of anti-Russian sanctions over Moscow's recognition of the DPR and LPR. Why is the EU following Washington's suit, in your opinion?
Jacques Cheminade: For the time being, new US sanctions remain limited against the DPR and LPR. An executive order from President Biden prohibits "new investment, trade, and financing by US persons to, from or in the so-called DPR and LPR regions of Ukraine...We will soon announce additional measures".
The statement from the US administration makes clear that these "are not the severe economic measures we have been preparing should Russia further invade Ukraine". It remains then that other sanctions over Ukraine are intended and designed by US Treasury and National Security Council officials to crush Russia's economy.
The warmongers are the extremists from the financial sector associated with weapons' production, the financial-military lobby, secret services, the media and think tanks such as the National Endowment for Democracy, Freedom House, the Atlantic Council, and Open Society Foundation. It is their combination that represents today the main danger coming from the West.
The EU would be impotent in front of them because they control, directly or indirectly, all the military-industrial complexes in European countries, notably through their control of their data, cyber forces, and advanced AI.
© Sputnik / Valeriy MelnikovA resident of the village of Staromikhailovka, damaged by shelling in the Donetsk region 27.09.2015
A resident of the village of Staromikhailovka, damaged by shelling in the Donetsk region 27.09.2015
© Sputnik / Valeriy Melnikov/
Sputnik: The Council of Europe is the body that imposes and lifts sanctions. This year France is heading the council. How could it influence the process of discussing and adopting a further package of tougher anti-Russian sanctions?
Jacques Cheminad: France's influence depends on its political will. It demands courage and obstination. Most other countries have delegated their security to NATO. France therefore is formally an exception, but it is, as I said before, controlled "from within". Its doctrine is no longer that of General de Gaulle or even François Mitterrand. Nonetheless, many of the presidential candidates, from Eric Zemmour to Jean-Luc Mélenchon, and also to a certain extent Valérie Pécresse, Marine Le Pen, and Fabien Roussel, express their willingness to change policy towards Russia. But none has measured yet the consequences of such a decision in terms of the domestic policy to be followed to sustain such a foreign policy.
© REUTERS / Konstantin ChernichkinActivists warm themselves by a fire in a camp at Kryvyi Torets station as they take part in a rail blockade that has halted coal supplies in the village of Shcherbivka in the Donetsk Region, 14 February 2017.
Activists warm themselves by a fire in a camp at Kryvyi Torets station as they take part in a rail blockade that has halted coal supplies in the village of Shcherbivka in the Donetsk Region, 14 February 2017.
© REUTERS / Konstantin Chernichkin
Sputnik: What's your prognosis on relations between Russia and Europe following the recognition of LPR and DPR?
Jacques Cheminad: Very simple: we have the BRICS and the Belt and Road initiatives and it is in the interest of European countries to join such a political and economic direction, as partners involved in a new approach of connectivity through productivity. With my friends from the Schiller Institute, and my political party in France, Solidarité et Progrès, we fight for a new international strategic agreement or conference based on a completely different economic policy from that of the collapsing casino game of the City of London, Wall Street, and their European collaborators.