The ex-president proposed that the western nations devise something similar to the Marshall Plan for Ukraine: creating tight economic cooperation and investing in Ukraine’s economy, while at the same time bolstering the state’s military defense capabilities.
Yushchenko spoke to journalist Olga Dragiļeva of Latvian Television investigative news program De facto Sunday in an hour-long interview, in which he strongly criticized the western countries’ approach toward the current Ukraine crisis. The former president said it is time to honestly admit that Russia has openly attacked his country.
“I don’t get the Normandy format,” he said. “Germany and Russia are observers, but Ukraine is a party to the conflict. With whom to negotiate? The aggressor’s chair sits empty. The Minsk format. The OSCE and Russia are observers, Ukraine again party to the conflict and the other party is Zaharchenko. Whom does he represent, this sixth-category electrician? Is he the author of this war? Putin and Russa are the author of this war. The people’s republics of Lugansk and Donetsk have no tanks, no rocket launchers, no machine-guns,” he argued during his talk with LTV.
He also feels Ukrainians themselves need to call the conflict in the east of the country a “war” rather than an “anti-terror operation.”
“Our soldiers get no orders to act. For months we’re not allowed to fire back against enemy positions, we don’t use any rocket launchers. Thousands of young men are refusing to mobilize because they don’t just want to become cannon fodder on the front lines without the right to fight back. There’s a lot we can’t do because all we have is this peace plan,” Yushchenko said.
He pointed to the 1994 treaty which Ukraine signed, forever swearing off its Soviet-inherited nuclear arsenal for the guarantee of territorial integrity.
“Today we announce – Ukraine has lost its territorial integrity and sovereignty. Then, please, guarantors, remember your promise of December 5, 1994 and keep it,” he urged.
He blasted Europe’s leaders for failing to understand that Putin is a threat to all of them, not just to Ukraine.
“Europe lacks its Winston Churchill and is not even ready to realize Putin’s challenge. I believe most European politicians are repeating the mistake of 1938, they’re trying to appease Putin like they tried to appease Hitler. Maybe give him Crimea and hope it will suffice. Freeze off Crimea like Ossetia and then he’ll stop? Of course not. He’ll go all the way to Lisbon. Not territorially, but ideologically. He’ll fund all the radicals, all the far-right and far-leftists if only to destabilize the situation. Destabilization is his best partner and Ukraine is one of his instruments,” Yushchenko said.