NATO PA speaker: Nobody will fight for Crimea; sanctions seen as best option
Speaker at the NATO Parliamentary Assembly's 2017 Spring Session Soli Özel says that nobody is going to fight for Russian-annexed Crimea, and sanctions against Russia remain the best option.
"All I'm saying is: there is a limited number of instruments that are available to begin with, and the United States will not try to, in my judgement, expand that number of instruments that are available to it on the issue of Ukraine. Sanctions at this point seem to me to remain the best option that anybody can have, because – quite frankly – nobody is going to fight for Crimea, nobody is going to go for war for Crimea," he said at a NATO PA Political Committee meeting on challenges from the south, Transatlantic relations in transition, held as part of the session in Tbilisi, Georgia, on May 26-29.
"I have no doubts that Congress will continue to support Ukraine, and by the way, I did not mean to say the United States would drop Ukraine off the map," he added.
U.S. Congressman Gerry Connolly, who was also present at the meeting, assured that there is no U.S. retreat with respect to Ukraine.
"As a member of Congress, as the head of the United States' delegation to this body, I want to make sure my colleagues understand – there is no retreat on the part of the United States or the United States Congress with respect to Ukraine. Quite the opposite – we're going actively to look for ways to continue to put heat on the Russians. And any suggestion to the contrary is false and misleading, and we renounce it as clearly as we can," Connolly said.
Özel is a Professor of International Relations at Kadir Has University, Istanbul, and a Richard von Weizsacker fellow at the Robert Bosch Academy, Berlin.