Ukrainian president tells CNN Ukraine may seek more sanctions against Russia
Ukraine is ready to push for more sanctions against Russia, President Petro Poroshenko told CNN’s Richard Quest.
Speaking on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos before a meeting between Russia and Ukraine on Wednesday, Poroshenko said there was no room for negotiation.
“Everything was agreed and signed in Minsk,” he said, referring to a pact signed in September with the aim of halting the conflict between Ukrainian government forces and separatist pro-Russian rebels.
Ukraine expects Russia to present a plan for implementing the agreement, which calls for an immediate ceasefire, freeing of any hostages, and the withdrawal of armed groups and military equipment from Ukrainian territory.
“The purpose of sanctions is not to hurt Russia. The purpose of sanctions is just to keep Russia to be responsible.”
PETRO POROSHENKO: Today, we have more than 9,000 Russian troops who so- called “lost their way” crossing our Russian-Ukrainian border bring with them hundreds and hundreds of tanks and armed personnel carriers and killing Ukrainian civilians and attacking Ukrainian troops.
RICHARD QUEST, CNN: But Mr. Lavrov says he believes you’re ready to talk, you’re ready to negotiate.
POROSHENKO: We are —
QUEST: Are you? Are you ready to talk?
POROSHENKO: We are ready 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to have a discussion about how to implement the Minsk Agreement. Because we already have a final document, which is based on my peace plan, which is very simple: stop fire, withdraw artillery, withdraw troops, close the border, and have a political election on the Ukrainian legislation when we elect the person with whom we will speak about the future of the region.
QUEST: What do you think President Putin wants out of this? Because you’ve talked to him. You spoke to him on the phone not too long ago. If you’re right, what’s his game?
POROSHENKO: I think nobody in the world knows what Mr. Putin wants. We have a version that he wants a weaker Ukraine, and weaker Ukraine would be more controlled by him. I am absolutely sure we don’t allow anybody to control Ukraine. Ukraine would be taking the governmental position on their people, and the Ukrainian people make the position, we have our movement to the European Union.
QUEST: You’re going towards the European Union, and if you have your way, it’ll be sooner rather than later, which is exactly what he wants to prevent.
POROSHENKO: Do you know, now we have completely different Ukraine. Ukraine is now never as — now united as before. Ukraine is never so strong as before. Ukraine never so pro-European as before. And do you know who is — who make this possible? Putin. This is because of Putin we are so strong. This is because of Putin we are so united. It is because of Putin we have built up our army. And this is because of Putin we move to European Union, and nobody can stop us.
QUEST: What more would you now — practical would you now like to see from the EU and the US. Do you say — do you call now for more sanctions?
POROSHENKO: Point number one: the purpose of sanctions is not to hurt Russia. The purpose of sanctions is just keep Russia to be responsible, to keep Russia at the negotiation table and to implement what we agreed. If Russia, starting — for four months after the Minsk Agreement don’t undertake every single step, we should understand that we should make additional steps.
QUEST: So, let’s be clear: there’s a meeting this afternoon, or there’s a meeting in the next few hours that you hope will ratify Minsk or reaffirm Minsk with a —
POROSHENKO: This should be a road map for the implementation of all the points we have in the Minsk memorandum. Withdraw all troops. Close the border. Withdraw the artillery. Cease fire. And time for the election.
QUEST: And if that doesn’t happen?
POROSHENKO: And if it doesn’t happen, and if the escalation on the Ukrainian cities of the battle for the airport, Marinka, and others will escalate, if they continue to kill my civilians, including the tragedy which we have in Volnovakha. And I want to give you the symbol, this is the “Je suis Volnovakha,” this is the symbol of the bus where killed 13 innocent people, including one 14-year-old girl. This is absolutely not accepted. The same not accepted as Charlie Hebdo or the same not accepted like the MH17 terror attack on Ukrainian sky.
QUEST: We must talk about the economy now, sir. You need more money, don’t you? Or you need more support from the IMF.
POROSHENKO: We need solidarity with Ukraine. We need unity of our supporters, unity of the whole world. And we need that you believe in Ukraine. We need not the money just to spend it, because last year, year 2014, we paid our sovereign debt more than we attract from the global market. And in that particular case, we need to have a financial pillow of reform to stimulate and to —
QUEST: How —
POROSHENKO: — to promote the growth.
QUEST: How much? How much would you like that — how cushioned would you like that pillow?
POROSHENKO: As far as I understand, CNN is the TV channel who knows news first, so I promise you that mission of IMF together with our financial minister and governor of central bank will publish the new figures, and you will be among the first who knows that.