Sputnik: The EU extended its anti-Russia sanctions recently. What is the reaction here in Brussels, and what is your opinion about them?
Frank Creyelman: We always have been opposed to sanctions, because sanctions serve one goal — to sell American coal to the European Union. Trump said that he finds it “appalling” — these are his words — that the European Union is depending on Russian energy, so to Trump that’s “undermining the NATO“. So, that is the reason why the sanctions are there: everything is good to keep these sanctions alive. In Western Europe we’re fed up with the sanctions. Lots of our farmers and people who exported to Russia and cannot do that anymore, they now found other markets, but they regret not being able to export to Russia. And Nord Stream 2, the pipeline which is coming from Russia to Germany and feeding the European market — that’s the only reason.
So, now, in the United States they find every reason to prolong the sanctions: they expeled two Russian diplomats from Greece — for what reason? Nobody knows. It’s just prolonging sanctions. The “Skripal thing“: everybody was fed up with the sanctions? Ah! “Skripal thing!”, and then you have the second option: everybody is watching the World Cup. It’s great, Russia comes out good? Ah, another thing with the Skripals! It’s obvious, it’s getting really ridiculous. And we are making fools out of ourselves with this type of prolonging of sanctions, which are not useful. They are not good for Russia, they are not good for the European Union, they are only good for one country — the United States.
Sputnik: We tried to talk to Belgian farmers about sanctions, but nobody wants to go on record. However, off record some farmers told us that people are afraid to speak out because they would receive criticism from their farming cooperatives. Why is that?
Frank Creyelman: The cooperatives are working with the government very closely. That’s why the farmers don’t dare to go into this cooperation. But there is another thing that we can use: if Russians themselves start dealing with farmers to import the goods they need, this would undermine the position of the cooperatives. And, there is a friend of mine who is actually now trying to do so. So, maybe, that’s something that Europe and European businessmen should probably think about: get out of these state-controlled cooperatives and start dealing with issues themselves. What can they do? Nothing.
Sputnik: Trump and other NATO leaders say that there has to be dialogue with Russia in some shape or form. What could be done by Russia and the West to start communicating again?
Frank Creyelman: Things in Donetsk and Lugansk have to be considered. Everybody knows that Trump — I think he made it clear that Crimea is Russian and it will stay Russian (it was Russian and it’s back in Russia) — it is no longer discussable. But I think Donetsk and Lugansk are a different thing, they have to “put a dagger” into Poroshenko, and that is a difficult thing. I think if you want to talk to Russia — it will be about that in the first place. And then, of course, behind it it’s always the same: “follow the money”, “follow the oil”, “follow the energy streams”. So, the official discussion will be about Ukraine, and the real discussion will be about the oil, and gas and energy.
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