“Under current circumstances, I strongly believe that the Minsk deal is not even the deal with the way to nowhere, this is the deal with the clear-cut way directly into the Russian trap,” said Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Prime Minister of Ukraine (2014-2016), founder of the Open Ukraine Foundation during Kyiv Security Forum online discussion on May 15.
Arseniy Yatsenyuk emphasized that it is unacceptable that Russia is trying to force Ukraine “to legitimize Russia’s proxies with these so-called “local elections” and these weird workshops of different representatives of Donetsk and Luhansk.”
“The Russian idea is to dismantle Ukraine as an independent state. So I strongly believe that in current circumstances the implementation of the Minsk deal in the Russian interpretation is a disaster for the Ukrainian people and for the Ukrainian state,” he stressed.
Founder of KSF underlined, that the best response is “to have one united position, to be on the same page with the European Union”: ‘We need the strong EU leadership and the leadership of the United States.”
“Putin has to realize that he can not solve his problems at the price of Ukraine. He has to realize that an appeasement policy, which showed its ineffectiveness in the previous century, will not be applied to Putin in current circumstances,” Mr. Arseniy Yatsenyuk emphasized.
“Putin wants to be a focal point of all the dictators in Europe. We need to stop them and we need to defend Ukraine. Ukraine as one of the key defenders of democracy in Europe. We showed it, we proved it, so let’s do it together,” former Prime Minister said.
He underlined that he “feels a certain vacuum of power in the contemporary world”: “Nature abhors the vacuum. Dictators abhor the weak democracies. And that's what we have right now.”
“Democracy has to produce strong leadership in order to defend itself and to deter dictators. Dictators are feeling quite good right now. For example, President Putin,” founder of KSF said.
Mr. Arseniy Yatsenyuk reminded that 13 years ago he as a Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine had a meeting with then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. He noted that during this meeting he said “Ukraine is encircled with the Russian military and Russian forces. Look at Belarus, look at Russia, look at what is happening in Crimea, look at what is going on in Transnistria. We are under Russia’s siege.” And seven years later Russia illegally annexed Crimea and sent its troops to Donetsk and Luhansk.
“Ukraine deterred Russian aggression. No doubt we did it with the support of our Western allies and the free world. But Ukraine is still under the Russian siege and the threat of large-scale Russian aggression. So we defended our homeland and we defended your independence and your democracy,” he emphasized.
“We need strong American leadership. And we need strong both the United States and the European Union. Transatlantic unity is the best recipe on how to stop and how to deter dictators like President Putin,” Mr. Arseniy Yatsenyuk underlined.
The latest Kyiv Security Forum online discussion “Who Is at War Against Global Democracy” organized by Arseniy Yatsenyuk Open Ukraine Foundation.
Participants of the discussion: Anne Applebaum, American journalist and historian, the Pulitzer Prize winner; Rebecca Harms, German politician, the Member of the European Parliament in 2004-19; Daniel Fried, American diplomat, the Weiser Family distinguished fellow at the Atlantic Council, the former US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs and the US Ambassador to Poland, the coordinator for sanctions policy during the Obama administration; Peter Pomeranzev, British journalist and author, the Visiting Senior Fellow at the Institute of Global Affairs at the London School of Economics; Volodymyr Yermolenko, Ukrainian philosopher, analytics director at Internews Ukraine, editor-in-chief at UkraineWorld. Danylo Lubkivsky, Deputy Foreign Minister of Ukraine in 2014, member of the Board of Management of Open Ukraine Foundation, moderated the discussion.
Kyiv Security Forum is Ukraine’s foremost platform for high-level international discussion about peace and security. Kyiv Security Forum was founded in 2007.