On Sunday’s FAREED ZAKARIA GPS on CNN/U.S. features an exclusive interview with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko who spoke about the Dutch investigation this week that concluded last year’s Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 was shot from the sky by a Russian-made missile and whether Ukraine is ready to join NATO.
MANDATORY CREDIT for reference and usage: “CNN’s FAREED ZAKARIA GPS”
FULL INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
FAREED ZAKARIA, HOST: When Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 was shot down over Ukraine 15 months ago, 193 Dutch citizens perished. This week, their nation, the Netherlands, released a damning investigative report on how and why its citizens and 105 others died. The report pointed fingers in two different directions. It said that a Russian-made Bukh missile fired from territory controlled by pro-Russian separatists is what downed the airliner. But the report also put some lesser blame on Ukraine, saying the nation had sufficient reason to close its air space before the shoot down occurred. Joining me now for an exclusive interview is Ukraine’s president, Petro Poroshenko. Thank you for joining me, Mr. President.
PETRO POROSHENKO, PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE: Thank you for the invitation.
ZAKARIA: Do you believe that Ukraine should have shut down its air space, given the knowledge you had, the violence that was already afoot?
POROSHENKO: Yeah, of course, Ukraine is strictly follow all the recommendations of the ICAO and at that time we closed the air space at the height, it seems to me, 9,725 meters. We don’t have any information which give us the necessity to close the air spot above this echelon and we strictly followed the recommendation of the ICAO.
We cannot imagine that the Russia will transfer these highly sophisticated and very technological weapons to the hands of the terrorists and they don’t have any background, any–basis for making this decision.
ZAKARIA: One of the things people are trying to figure out in the West is, is Vladimir Putin searching for a negotiated settlement in Ukraine? Is he searching for a way to deescalate the situation, to stabilize the situation because he faces a shrinking economy, sanctions, a collapse of oil prices, and now, of course, he has this intervention in Syria? Do you believe that Putin is looking for some kind of settlement?
Do you see any signs of that?
POROSHENKO: I wish, but unfortunately, no. Unfortunately, the — until the September, we have an active committed operation and only now, we have a cease-fire. But unfortunately we don’t have any continuation of the implementation of the Minsk process. The same as I told you, the first decision which Putin should make is withdraw his troops from Ukrainian territory. And I think that the absolutely irresponsible behavior of Russia in Syria, when he launched this operation, this is simply continued the logic, logic which we said even last year, at first, it was the Crimea, second, it was Donbass, third, it is Syria, fourth maybe, I don’t know, Afghanistan.
And nobody knows where the Russian green soldiers can appear in the very next moment.
ZAKARIA: Mr. President, you were seen recently in a Ukrainian plane that has been outfitted to NATO standards. And so I wonder do you want Ukraine to become a member of NATO?
POROSHENKO: This is a very important question. Of course, I want peace, security as a president for my country and for my people, especially in this situation, where we are under attack of Russia, when we are the object of aggression. And NATO today is maybe the only most effective mechanism to provide security, because after Russian aggression in my country, they completely destroyed all the post-war security systems based on the statute and charter and principles of the United Nations, because when we have a situation, one of the permanent members of the Security Council is an aggressor, that — and he’s using his veto right, that means that the old mechanism which was created is not working.
And now it is my responsibility to provide and implement reform in my country, to transform the country to the NATO. And then we will have this discussion. I think I need for that at least five, six years.
ZAKARIA: Mr. President, a pleasure to have you on.
POROSHENKO: Thank you very much indeed.