The former Republican congressman and three-time presidential candidate Ron Paul has launched a scathing attack on what he calls a US-backed coup in Ukraine, insisting the Crimean people have the right to align their territory with Moscow and characterising sanctions against Russia as “an act of war”.
He also said providing economic aid to Ukraine was comparable to giving support to rebels in Syria knowing it would end up in the hands of al-Qaida.
The libertarian guru’s remarks in an interview with the Guardian are almost diametrically opposed to those of his son, the Republican presidential hopeful Rand Paul, who has called for stiff penalties against Russia and declared: “If I were president, I wouldn’t let [Russian president] Vladimir Putin get away with it.”
Ron Paul, who retired from his Texas congressional seat in 2012, has always adopted a sceptical view of US foreign interventions. He said that although the US had not been involved in any military overthrow of the government in Kiev, it had facilitated a coup in the sense of “agitating” elements who wanted to usurp Ukraine’s former president, Victor Yanukovych.
“The evidence is pretty clear that the NGOs [non-governmental organisations] financed by our government have been agitating with billions of dollars, trying to get that government changed,” he said. “Our hands are not clean.”