Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko is certain that “Ukraine will take Crimea back” and said the Ukrainian government’s top task is not to let Russian President Vladimir Putin “move further on continental Ukraine.”
Tymoshenko’s remarks came during a live TV interview on the Savik Shuster news program on March 21, her first extended interview on a Ukrainian television news program since her release from prison a month ago following the overthrow of her political enemy, Viktor Yanukovych, as president.
In her appeal to Ukrainians on the political talk show, Tymoshenko said that “the whole world is keeping an eye on Russia’s moves into Ukraine.”
Tymoshenko believes that the EuroMaidan Revolution that toppled Yanukovych served to stifle Putin’s plans to invade mainland Ukraine.
“Putin just wants to change the world’s order and reshape it,” Tymoshenko said.
Instead, Tymoshenko believes that the Kremlin’s annexation of Crimea, on the false pretext of protecting the peninsula’s million or so ethnic Russians, “is the beginning of the end to Putin’s regime. Now Putin is enemy number one for Ukraine and I need to admit that he lost Ukraine for good in the last weeks, despite the deliberate politics he pursued in our country for the last 20 years.”
Putin, Tymoshenko said, is not the first dictator with “fascist attitudes,” and expressed confidence that the world leaders won’t ignore him.
“I’m certain we will manage to bring Crimea back, even though Russia boosts its military presence all over Ukrainian border with more than 100,000 troops and lots of military vehicles there,” Tymoshenko explained during the interview.
“If Putin crosses the line, Ukraine and the whole world will react,” Tymoshenko said.
But she warned that the West won’t send its troops to help Ukraine. “On the flip side, the West focused on imposing economic and financial sanctions against key Russian oligarchs. And with the help of this, we (Ukrainians) will win. But Ukraine was left weak with no army and now everyone of us understands that Ukraine is up against Russia’s aggression.”
Calls on voters to support Klitschko, Tiahnybok besides her Batkivshchyna Party
Tymoshenko, the leader of Batkivshyna Party whose members including interim President Oleksandr Turchynov and interim Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, said she also initiated a meeting with former top security and military experts to find the way out of the Сrimean crisis and expressed a hope that “Putin will never include Ukraine into his ambitious plans.”
She also recalls “the tragedy of German citizens divided by Berlin Wall, but they managed to unite because of the economic potential of one part of the country.”
“I believe Ukraine’s ties with Europe will be the most powerful uniting factor and Ukraine will always be united country,” Tymoshenko said.
Tymoshenko said now the former opposition parties – Vital Klitschko’s Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform party, Batkivshyna and Oleh Tiahnybok’s Svoboda Party – need to get more support from the nation.
“The Ukrainian new government was facing hard times as they need to find at least 200,000 specialists to appoint in Kyiv and at the local level. It’s an incredibly difficult task in times of war.”
However, Tymoshenko admitted that she does not agree with everything Ukraine’s new acting government does.
Tymoshenko said her fellow party members recently met with Crimean Tatars leaders about the results of the so-called March 16 referendum in which Russia said 97 percent of voters decided to join Russia.
“The real figures are those – only 34 percent of Crimean citizens express their will to join Russian Federation,” Tymoshenko said, adding that even those who organized the referendum know it well.
She stressed that Ukraine shouldn’t follow the politics of separation.
“We won’t think about cutting electricity or water supply to Crimean people. Ukraine couldn’t forget that they are our people who live there. And every single Crimean citizen should have support from all of us,” Tymoshenko said.
Tymoshenko also believes that it is impossible to negotiate with the Kremlin.
“In case of military intervention, I couldn’t think of holding any talks with Vladimir Putin,” She said.
Tymoshenko said that, in the future, Ukraine won’t deal with Putin’s Russia.
“After a Sunday peaceful march in Moscow on March 15, everybody saw there are two sides – Putin’s Russia and the attitude of those responsible and fair Russians, who want to fight the regime,” Tymoshenko said. “And I believe in the nearest future Ukraine won’t deal with Putin anymore.”
But the former prime minister is certain that Ukraine got her independence because of the EuroMaidan Revolution and, at last, European leaders are certain they “want to see Ukraine as a part of European Union family now.”
Commenting on the fact that the majority of Ukrainians now support the idea of Ukraine joining the NATO alliance, Tymoshenko said it happened because of “Putin’s invasion.”
Tymoshenko said it’s necessary for Ukraine to hold parliamentary elections as soon as possible, “because what we have now there (in the Verkhovna Rada) is not a normal functioning parliament.
Ukrainians now want to associate themselves with future victories, so now they “look at each politician through a magnifying glass.”
And politicians should be ready to receive little tolerance for corruption from the electorate, she said.