Transcript of the interview with the Head of the International Relations Bureau of the Central Committee of AKEL Vera Polycarpou on the ‘Morning Edition’ of ‘Astra’ radio

14 February 2022

ASTRA: How do you see things in Ukraine?

Vera Polycarpou: I’d like to start a little differently (from your previous guest). Why is all this happening in Ukraine? Something has been mentioned before about the history of the issue. Maybe it’s very well known, what happened in 2014 with Maidan and so on, but I would like to put into the picture, besides the fact that NATO and the United States of course behind it is seeking to expand NATO “eastwards” and encircle Russia, that any other country of Russia’s size and beyond wouldn’t accept such a thing without reacting, based on what your guest said earlier regarding the agreements – though unwritten ones – that were concluded in the 1990’s.

At the same time we also note that NATO which about a year ago was called by Macron as “brain dead” when it was said that NATO didn’t see what the future would be like and that the Europeans were more driven to support and further develop erroneously in our view militarily the European Union seeking to make it militarily autonomous – which is wrong because that transforms it into another military structure – there is now a very big push by the United States to strengthen NATO and put it back where it was, but also to develop it further militarily and turn it into a global organization that can strike anywhere in the world.

Let me remind you at this point that a great deal of money was spent by the military-industrial complex of the United States for the election of Biden. Now Biden must in return pay back this support that was given…and this is being done through NATO and the waging of some potentially possible wars. And Ukraine may be one of those wars.

A: So the war industry must have work at all costs?

VP: For the moment, of course, what we see being sent to Ukraine is what numerous journalists, who know what’s actually happening on the ground, have called “scrap metal”. Apart from various missiles it is scrap which at the end of the day can end up back in the very countries that send them through the black market, as we have seen with the weapons from Bosnia and elsewhere that have come back to the European Union through various terrorist organizations killing Europeans. So let us not forget this aspect too because the war industry is the richest.

At the same time, Turkey is developing in a very dynamic way its own arms industry, for example, with drones. In addition, we should add to our information that, especially over the last three to four years, military cooperation between Ukraine and Turkey has developed very vigorously using technology that existed for missiles during the period of the Soviet Union in Ukraine, together with missile technology and aviation from Germany. Turkey has set up the most dynamic and most used means in military conflicts. Namely, the unmanned combat drones called “Bayraktar” which were used in warfare, for example, by Azerbaijan and indeed for a period of time with Turkish operators.

These drones are used in Ukraine as well and what you had mentioned before about two drone strikes carried out from Ukraine concerns Turkey. That’s where they come from. Approximately two weeks ago Ukrainian President Zelensky and Erdogan agreed to develop this industry on Ukrainian territory. For that reason, all this has to be channeled and when there is an ongoing conflict, when there is tension, of course the arms trade increases, because revenues from this trade are huge. It’s the people who are the victims of course…

A: There is unrest I understand inside Ukraine, and not only within Ukraine, right?

VP: I was watching various TV channels before to see exactly what the mood is in the country. Many Ukrainians on the streets of Kiev are declaring that “we are going nowhere”, “we don’t feel threatened” and “we don’t see why all this is happening”. There was also a statement on Saturday by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who must be in an extremely difficult position, saying that “but where do the Americans see this information that on February 16 the Russians will strike…That’s not what our own intelligence services, which are also very good, are telling us.”

A: Is that why the Americans want the war at all costs? So the Americans are pushing things for a war to brake out?

VP: Yes, they are whipping up all this hysteria which is also hitting Ukraine economically – that is already on its knees, its economy – to reach a collapse. As your previous guest said, the Americans have withdrawn their military advisers from Ukraine, as have the British. In addition, Biden has said that “you can forget that we are going to fight in Ukraine.” So what he is actually saying is “we are leading you to war, but you’re the ones to get killed”.

It should be pointed out that the Ukrainian army has a great number of soldiers who are Russian-speaking – not to mention of Russian origin, because that’s how the territory was under the Soviet Union – and not just in Ukraine. And Russians are not going to kill Russians. So they’re probably being used.

The one hundred and fifty thousand Ukrainian troops that are on the line with the two regions – Donetsk and Lugansk – the majority of them from what I’ve heard are not the regular army per se. They include the fascist groups ‘Azov’ and ‘Bandera’ etc. which, it must be said, exist and continue to grow stronger inside Ukraine. In fact, part of them have even joined the Ukrainian army. They will kill, but it is not the whole army that will do so.

A: Hopefully diplomacy will prevail. The thorn is NATO’s decision to establish bases there, right?

VP: Let me add one more thing that we need to interconnect with this whole situation. That is to say, the natural gas issue. As we see the ban, let’s say, by the US on the opening of the Nord Stream 2 – the pipeline that will bring gas from Russia to Germany, bypassing Ukraine – is ready since September. Germany, Austria, Austria, Italy, the Netherlands and Belgium, if my memory serves me correctly, depend on this very pipeline. Germany’s industry, for example, will be on its knees if this gas does not come from Russia, if the “tap” isn’t opened.

The United States have for about a year now been targeting very hard to prevent this tap from being opened. They are forcing the Europeans to start thinking about accepting – and they are already accepting – liquefied natural gas from the United States, which comes from shale gas extraction, which is destructive to the environment and is also much more expensive.

That is to say, at the same time the US has also set this goal – to destroy big powers economically, such as Germany for example.

A: Yes, but what you say, isn’t the EU an oxymoron while this is going on and while the EU itself is supposedly especially on environmental issues vetoing a lot of things, how come it is now threatening Russia that it will impose sanctions, especially in the energy sector since it knows it will be brought to its knees if it does this to Russia? Has the EU therefore fully aligned itself to the NATO war machine as we say, to the Americans?

VP: EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell has certainly done that. But you see that Macron is employing a different tactic. The Germans too. Because they can make various statements like the German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, especially before she took office as Foreign Minister when she was saying certain things, now she’s much more careful…This is because the price of energy, not only in Cyprus, but across the whole European Union too, has gone through the roof. People will not be able to bear it and there are already demonstrations on this issue. German citizens, for example, will not accept these price increases. And they are not accepting them already. When the industry is also hit hard, who will save it? The European Union? It won’t save it.

So that is why we believe that both the Germans and the French will stick to this line of diplomacy. The Russians, for their part, have assured that they are not going to attack because someone always attacks them. So why don’t they build on that? Why don’t they build on the Russian proposals?

Macron has started talking again – as the French used to talk before – about the security of the whole of Europe. And the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) is precisely this arena that could provide the opportunity for further dialogue. But if selectively some people – like Borrell – are thinking about the agreements that have been made within the OSCE – leaving out the last piece made in Istanbul in 2020 that is substantive – well, then it can’t seriously move forward.

We consider that what the German Admiral said recently – who was in fact forced to resign when he said that what Putin wants is respect – should not be forgotten. The European Union is not talking to some little island and telling it what to do. We are talking about a country (Russia) that should be treated with the same respect as all other countries.

A: A listener asks about the change in America from Trump to Biden…

VP: The issue is those who give money to elect presidents. Let’s not forget that Biden had very close ties with Ukraine…let’s not forget that.

A: Let’s hope that there won’t be any fighting…

VP: Yes, exactly, we hope, for the sake of the peoples. Cyprus must stay away from all this.

A: But how can it stay out? Since there are NATO bases here too…

VP: Here in Cyprus we have to fight for the bases not to be used. The Cypriot government must not give in on this issue. We should continue to struggle for the solution of the Cyprus problem and the demilitarization of Cyprus. That is how the bases will be removed.

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