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Schuessel, Putin
Austria's former Federal Chancellor Wolfgang Schussel (L) talks with Russia's President Vladimir Putin during a meeting at the Valdai Discussion Club in Sochi, October 24, 2014
(Reuters / Mikhail Klimentyev)

The unipolar world as we know it is moving to its end, Wolfgang Schüssel, Austria’s Chancellor in 2000-2007, told RT at the Valdai forum. Russia is to play a major role in the new order, but at the moment the Ukraine crisis dominates the country’s image.

RT:What is your opinion about the European sanctions against Russia? Are they fair and useful or not?

Wolfgang Schüssel: First of all, there was a story before the sanctions. We were absolutely surprised with what happened in Ukraine. There are always possibilities for independence or secession, but according to the Helsinki Charter it must be negotiated peacefully and remain within the agreement of the respective country. This did not happen. The sanctions were the response. I think [the EU] tried to calculate and to balance it so that the response would not to be damaging the economies too sharply. Nevertheless, there are some consequences to be felt, in Russia and also in Europe.

The most important thing in my opinion is how to restore a positive, upwards-leading cycle of confidence-building measures. Sunday will see elections in Ukraine. Hopefully they will bring to power moderate politicians like President Poroshenko. On Wednesday an agreement on energy deliveries from Russia to Ukraine could be negotiated, under the moderation of the European Commission. And then we should strengthen the ceasefire in eastern Ukraine and guarantee local elections there to be held in accordance with the Minsk agreement and the Ukrainian legislation.

After that I think everything could move in positive direction. It is still difficult. Just a few sparks would be enough for the fire to break out again. As an optimist, I hope this would not happen. But it is a really difficult situation. I think Europe, Russia, the EU and Ukraine can and should demonstrate we are doing better than other parts of the world – look at the Middle East or Asia. ...
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