SARAJEVO, March 19 (FENA) – If Ukraine does not stop Russia now, you are next. It is a criminal regime with which it is impossible to negotiate, former Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko said in an exclusive interview with FENA.
Viktor Yushchenko was the first president of Ukraine after the collapse of the Soviet Union who was not a member of the Communist Party. He was the speaker of the Ukrainian parliament and the leader of the "Our Ukraine" party, and became known for his role in the 2004 Orange Revolution. Yushchenko was known for his anti-Russian stance and attempts to strengthen the Ukrainian language and culture. During his mandate as president of Ukraine from 2005 to 2010, he tried to reform the country, establish ties with the EU and NATO, and fight corruption and organized crime.
In 2004, Yushchenko fell victim to dioxin poisoning, a highly toxic chemical that caused severe health problems, including facial scarring and the loss of vision in one eye. Yushchenko claimed that the poisoning was an attempted murder, and the Russian authorities blamed the Ukrainian security service for the act. However, subsequent investigations showed that the Russian authorities were involved in the poisoning. According to some sources, dioxin was allegedly injected into Yushchenko's food during a meeting with a high-ranking Russian official, and he was allegedly poisoned because he was considered dangerous to Russian interests in Ukraine. In addition, some speculated that the reason for the poisoning was Yushchenko's pro-Western policies and his advocacy of greater Ukrainian sovereignty and independence.
- I am absolutely certain that tribunals should be established if we avoid such wars in the future. They must be tried, we must understand that they are criminals and they must be tried for their crimes. Putin must be punished. It is a problem that the whole world needs to solve. We must come out of this war clean and we must reexamine what happened, where was the source of darkness and where was the source of light, and those who started this war must end up behind bars. We do not want to betray 15 million Ukrainians who have been displaced because of this war - said Yushchenko.
Asked to go back to the time when he was president, whether it was possible for Ukraine to maintain some kind of neutrality, that is, to balance more between East and West, whether that would have prevented war. Yushchenko recalled the history of Ukraine in the 20th century.
- Ukrainians declared independence six times. Each time we maintained our neutrality, and this resulted in the fact that once they would maintain independence for a day and a half, another time for three days, and the third time for six months, but that is the longest we have managed to maintain independence. This is what Russia taught us. This is our history only in the 20th century. As soon as we decide to declare the Ukrainian People's Republic, as we did in 1918, the Russian army with its generals will start marching towards Ukraine and destroy us without mercy. Ukraine has the right to sovereignty and self-determination just like your country or Latvians, Latvians, Poles and the like.
Stop listening to Putin's lectures on why the war stopped. We stand for the sovereignty of all countries - he added.
He was asked if during his mandate he had the opportunity to meet with Putin and what impression he got after those meetings, as well as if he felt any pressure from Putin's side, Yushchenko said that during their meetings every discussion was very tactical.
- But a person should never be judged by what he says, but by what he does. What he did, even Hitler didn't do. However, this is not only about Putin, but also about 140 million little Putins who legitimize what he does. I believe that Europe will have to spend several decades to heal the divisions that Russia caused - he pointed out.
He said that if Europe wants stability, then it should deal with Russia in the same way as it did with Nazi Germany - it should show them the importance of democracy, freedom and morality.
- People say that this is a conflict between two states, that there are only two sides. I want you to understand one thing. If you believe in the state ideology that Putin promotes and his vision of the Russian world, which boils down to nostalgia for the Soviet Union, it means that you believe that Russia ends where the Russian language ends. If Serbia decides to speak Russian, it becomes a Russian sphere. The same thing is with Kazakhstan or Belarus. That's all it takes to become part of the Russian world. Last year he boasted that Russia has no borders - said Yushchenko.
He criticized the idea of starting negotiations with Russia.
- In 1942 or 1943, nobody proprosed negotiations with Hitler. Peace can be achieved in two ways - either you are victorious or you capitulate. The choice is yours - said Yushchenko.
He reminded that Ukraine surrendered all its nuclear weapons 30 years ago in order to achieve peace and that now it has to fight against Russian aggression, which it in no way provoked.
- If the world turns to Macron's way of solving problems, it will be the end of civilization and the Western world as we know it - Yushchenko concluded in an interview with FENA.
(FENA) L. N.