SHAFAQNA – Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk says the goal of Russian President Vladimir Putin is to destroy Ukraine as an independent country. “His goal is to take the entire Ukraine…he wants to eliminate Ukraine as an independent country,” Yatsenyuk said. Speaking at a conference attended by Western and Ukrainian lawmakers and businessmen in Kyiv on September 13, Yatsenyuk accused Putin of seeking to “restore the Soviet Union.” Yatsenyuk also said that despite a cease-fire between pro-Russian separatists and government forces to end five months of fighting in the east, “Ukraine is still in a state of war and the key aggressor is the Russian Federation.” He said, “Putin wants another frozen conflict” in eastern Ukraine.
Yatsenyuk described the cease-fire agreed in Minsk on September 5 as just a “first step” to “stop a massacre.” Yatsenyuk also said Russia was “a threat to the global order and to the security of the entire Europe.” Asked about future NATO membership, Yatsenyuk said he realized the alliance was not ready now to admit Kyiv, but added: “NATO in these particular circumstances is the only vehicle to protect Ukraine.”
Yatsenyuk said a new wave of economic sanctions imposed on Russia by the European Union and the United States over its role in the Ukraine conflict posed a major threat to the Russian economy. The sanctions were announced by the United States and the EU in a coordinated move on September 12 and target Russia’s energy, defense, and banking sectors. Kyiv and Western nations say there is evidence Russia is supporting the separatists in eastern Ukraine with troops and weapons. Moscow denies this and has said it will retaliate against Western sanctions. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, in a TV interview shown on September 13, dismissed as “nonsense” claims that “Russia is interested in creating another [breakaway region like Moldova’s] Transdniester or a buffer zone [in eastern Ukraine].” In a reference to the latest Western sanctions, he accused the United States of trying to use the crisis in Ukraine to break economic ties between the EU and Russia and force Europe to buy U.S. liquefied gas at much higher prices.
With reporting by Reuters and AFP