CRIMEA IS JUST PUTIN’S ‘OPENING GAME’, SAYS SWEDISH FOREIGN MINISTER CARL BILDT

CNN on March 20, 2014, reported that Russia’s annexation of Crimea could be just the first move in President Vladimir Putin’s geopolitical chess match with Ukraine, Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt told CNN. Excerpts below:

“I think that Crimea is the opening game,” he said. “It is not that President Putin is primarily interested in Crimea. He is interested in Ukraine.”

“If you read carefully what President Putin said in his big speech in the Kremlin the day before yesterday, what he says there about sort of historical claims and those sorts of things, apply not only to Crimea but also to southern parts of Ukraine.”

“That is where we should be extremely alert at the risk of President Putin moving further, even militarily, beyond Crimea.”

And in terms of his play for influence in Ukraine, Bildt thinks Putin’s goals know few bounds.

“I’m pretty convinced that his real agenda is not Crimea, but Kiev.”

“I think he is prepared to use both economic measures, subversion, and destabilizing issues…

It may not happen immediately, Bildt said, but Putin is “prepared to play this long.”

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