An interview of President of Ukraine on the issues of Russian aggression

In the interview to Funke Media Group, President Petro Poroshenko said that the cessation or continuation of hostilities in Ukraine depends on the aggressor country that started the war against our state. Ukraine protects its sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence in the fight against the invader.

“Everything depends on Russia, a country that is conducting a hybrid war against Ukraine. Our country has never provoked any military escalation. We did not come without invitation with tanks and machine guns, Russians did. This is not Ukraine but Russia that stole part of the sovereign territory of another state. One should never forget that Russian regular troops are already on Ukrainian soil. They violated our territorial integrity, occupying Crimea and Donbas. They continue to kill Ukrainians,” Petro Poroshenko said.

The Head of State also notes that the latest incident in the Kerch Strait proves that Russia does not refuse its plan to expand its occupation of Ukraine.

“Moscow is trying to get a land corridor from the occupied Donbas to the occupied Crimea, capturing Mariupol and Berdiansk. If some politicians do not stop flirting and dancing with Putin, then no one should exclude a threat that the scale of Russian aggression will increase,” he added.

“It is in Ukraine that the free world’s future is now being shaped. Unlike Russian provocative behavior and incitement to even more dramatic events, Ukraine has always stood for political and diplomatic means for resolving the conflict,” Petro Poroshenko emphasized.

However, the President stressed that instead of meeting legal requirements, Russia decided to increase the tension. “The attack of Russian troops on the ships of the Ukrainian fleet in the Kerch Strait and their capture were provocative and cynical,” he said.

According to him, the current attack was an aggression against Ukraine and the status of our sailors falls under the law of war. “In fact, they are prisoners of war and the Russian Federation must fulfill all the obligations arising from the provisions on the international war, namely the Geneva Conventions of 1949. Russia should free them and immediately return Ukrainian ships, otherwise it will face a new wave of international condemnation and sanctions,” the President said.

“We need an increased naval presence of Germany and allies in the Black Sea as a deterrent to Russia,” President Petro Poroshenko noted in the interview to Funke Media Group.

The President stressed that instead of responding positively to Ukraine’s calls, Moscow decided to increase tension. “For the first time since the beginning of aggression in 2014, Russian soldiers openly act in our captured territories with the purpose of annexation of the entire territory of Ukraine and destruction of the entire state apparatus,” he said.

In an interview to the Italian daily Corriere della Sera, President Poroshenko noted a solid European position and demand for the Kremlin to adhere to international law. In particular, the requirement for Russia to release Ukrainian seamen and guarantee free navigation in the waters of the Kerch Strait.

“I am convinced that the time of general political declarations has already passed. If we want to normalize the situation, it’s necessary to tell the Moscow authorities directly: the aggression against Europe is unacceptable, the new incident will not be tolerated and the next aggressive action will only increase the price to be paid by Moscow,” the Head of State answered about his attitude towards growing sympathy for Putin in some European, in particular, Italian political circles.

The President stressed that concrete steps should be taken to stop Russian aggression, such as “blocking the Nord Stream 2 project, strengthening NATO’s presence in the Black Sea, introducing new sanctions against those responsible for the crisis in the Azov Sea, forbidding Russian ships from entering the European ports, supporting Ukraine in the political, economic and military spheres”.

We have repeatedly warned against those who flirt and blindly dance with Putin in Europe, noting that this will only provoke a new Russian attack on the world order, freedom and the core values of European democracy itself. The waiting time ended with an attack on Ukrainian ships and the arrest of 24 Ukrainian sailors,” the Head of State emphasized.

“One must understand that Ukraine is actually under a military attack. Our independence is threatened, and the whole system of European security is threatened with it. Will there be new attacks? Should we continue to feed the beast that attacks us? And for all those who are still hesitating, I want to repeat my appeal to visit Donbas. Unlike Russians, Ukrainians have nothing to hide,” he said.

The Head of State emphasizes that Ukrainians never wanted to intensify the crisis. “The clashes in the Kerch Strait were planned in Moscow. After the invasion of Donbas and aggression in Crimea, now they want to take the Azov Sea, force us out and take more our territories. Those who allow themselves to be misled by Kremlin propaganda are naive,” the President said.

He thanked US President Donald Trump for his decision not to meet with Putin at the G20 summit. “Now the Russian leader is in isolation. I am also grateful for the actions of Mrs. Merkel to curb the expansion of Moscow. But this does not mean that Russians will not continue their invasion policy,” he added.

The Head of State stressed that Ukraine has always been actively seeking ways of diplomatic solution of the situation in opposition to any military decision. “But Russians themselves are taking away, occupying our regions, haunting the Ukrainian population. Russian military boots have been walking for a long time on our lands,” Petro Poroshenko said.

According to him, at present the tension in the Sea of Azov has attracted the attention of the international community.

In an interview to France 24, President Petro Poroshenko emphasized that Ukraine was ready to meet in the Normandy format at the level of political advisers to de-escalate the situation.

“This proposal was previously agreed with me during a telephone conversation with the Chancellor of Germany and we will certainly take part in the meeting of the Normandy format at the level of political advisers, on which we put an urgent question – the requirement to Russia to return our troops, ships and open the Kerch Strait,” the Head of State answered the question whether Ukraine was ready to discuss the situation in the Normandy format at the level of advisers as reported by Angela Merkel.

 

The President also stressed that the Russian Federation should withdraw its troops located on the Ukrainian-Russian border, remove a large number of warships from the Sea of Azov.

That is why, according to Petro Poroshenko, martial law was imposed in the Ukrainian regions neighboring with Russia. “And we will be happy to put an end to the law on martial law, when the de-escalation of the situation takes place,” the President said.