Do not hurt Russian people with sanctions: Jimmy Carter
Former US president Jimmy Carter said Tuesday the West should not impose sanctions that would hurt the Russian people over their leaders' actions in Ukraine.
"So far, we have limited the sanctions to the leadership of Russia, and I think that is the proper approach," the Nobel peace laureate told AFP on the sidelines of a discussion in Paris on climate change.
"I don't think we would go so far as to impose sanctions that would hurt the Russian people."
The statesman was taking part in a meeting with students as a member of The Elders group set up to promote human rights around the world.
US Vice President Joe Biden earlier warned Russia of "more costs" and "greater isolation" if it continued to "pull Ukraine apart".
Carter, who is credited with brokering the 1978 Cape David peace accords between Egypt and Israel and establishing US diplomatic relations with China, said Russia's takeover of Crimea had been "inevitable".
"I don't think anything could have been done by the US or European countries or anyone else to prevent that eventuality.
"Russia has always considered Crimea to be part of Russia."
And he said: "my hope and my belief is that (Russian President Vladimir) Putin is not going to use military force" in eastern Ukraine.
"He is going to try to use other means to convince those people who live there that their best option is to cast their lot more towards Russia than towards the West. So I don't think there is anything we can do that is going to deter Putin."
Carter said Ukrainians must be allowed to decide their own fate.
And he said he hoped they would be supported by Russia from the East and the United States and Europe from the West so as to "not be torn between the two."
The US and European Union have imposed targeted sanctions on members of Putin's inner circle over the crisis and Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea peninsula. They have threatened more wide-ranging measures as tensions over the former Soviet republic continue to spiral.
© 2014 AFP