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Poroshenko: 'Russia will not blackmail Ukraine'

In an exclusive interview with euronews, the Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko called for unity against Russia over the conflict in the east of his country. He said decisions concerning a 'federal'

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Poroshenko: 'Russia will not blackmail Ukraine'

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The Ukrainian President, Petro Poroshenko, has granted an exclusive interview to euronews in Kyiv in which he calls on the West to present a united front against Russia to resolve the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

Point of view

Together with our European, American and the world partners (committed) to defending freedom, democracy and the independence of my state - and we do not allow anybody to blackmail us

Sergio Cantone, euronews
“Is the European Union united according to you in the support of Ukraine or do you expect more from them? Because one can see some cracks in the system. Aren’t you?”

Petro Poroshenko, Ukrainian President
“No, I think that until now, during this whole year, me, as the president of Ukraine, has the possibility and honour to have a floor on the European Union Council, and it was happening in June, it was happening in September, it was happening in February and all the EU leaders support Ukraine and the voices of Europe were united. And I hope that if the European Union is dedicated to the European values the unity of the European Union can be continued.”

euronews
“The Minsk agreement and all the negotiations around the Minsk agreement: Is President Putin – the Russian side or even the separatist side – are these sides pushing forward an idea of a Federal Ukraine that for you is unacceptable?”

Petro Poroshenko
“Look, this is not a question of Putin or even a question of the president of Ukraine. The only one who can make this decision is the Ukrainian people. And under our legislation, our constitution, the federal status of Ukraine can be decided only with a nationwide referendum. At the present stage almost 90 percent of Ukrainians are completely against the federal status. Why? Because we are a unitarian state in we do not accept any form of pressure on Ukraine. And me, as the president of Ukraine are all the time ready to declare the referendum and will follow – and this is a democratic tradition – will follow the results of this referendum.”

euronews
“Stopping the war in exchange of the federalisation – is this what they want?”

Petro Poroshenko
“First of all we do not accept any ultimatum. Second, the way of development of our country will be decided by the Ukrainian people. Third, we are now, together with our European, American and the world partners (committed) to defending freedom, democracy and the independence of my state – and we do not allow anybody to blackmail us.”

euronews
“Don’t you think that in order to comply with what you are saying, there is the need to bring peacekeepers in the field in Donetsk and Luhansk Oblast (regions)?”

Petro Poroshenko
“My parliament support my proposal. Not only for the law for the special status or the self governance in Donetsk and Luhansk regions. Not only the map with the line dedicated in the Minsk memorandum from 19 September, but also for the peacekeeping request: a statement to the United Nations Security Council and to the United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, for opening the discussion for inviting peacekeepers in Ukraine. Where do we need these peacekeepers? First, on our border, because the border is a key element of the sovereignty and we need peacekeepers to close these borders to stop supplying troops, ammunition and weapons to Ukrainian territory, very simple. And second, the peacekeepers alongside the buffer zone, with the touch line which was set here just to guarantee peace and stability.”

euronews
“The problem is that it is very difficult to bring peacekeepers in the field without the consensus of the other side…”

Petro Poroshenko
“No, we don’t have any other side, this is the territory of Ukraine. This is the territory of Ukraine. And we hate the idea that any other state will decide if the United Nations’ peacekeepers should be there or not. And we are very much interested, that it should be also a possibility for the European Union police mission – or in the United Nations Security Council, peacekeeping mission would be mostly represented by the European Union. We trust them, these are our partners. And we think this is a very effective way to solve the question.”

euronews
“Do you feel a commitment within NATO and the EU in this sense?”

Petro Poroshenko
“Yes I think…”

euronews
“Did you get support?”

Petro Poroshenko
“Yes we have support, we have a confirmation, the only thing is that the… Look, what is the problem? After the Crimea’s annexation and after the occupation of Donbas, the post-war security system in the world, the global security system, are not working, why is it happening? Because unfortunately one of the permanent members of the Security Council of the United Nations became an aggressor, and that’s why that veto right would be used against the peacekeepers. And that’s why we would need to have that discussion the same way that we have in Minsk, that would be a unanimous decision, to have peacekeepers. And there is no argument for anybody to be against that.”

euronews
“One of the most important elements after the Maidan revolution, in order to give stability to this country, was to make an effective war against corruption. What are you doing?”

Petro Poroshenko
“War is not an excuse for not making reform: fighting against corruption, attracting the most famous international advisers for creation of an anti-corruption bureau, the responsibility now on ministers, prosecutor-general, top officers in the police, for the corruption charges and presented in transparent manner. This is the only way how we can win the trust of the people in this difficult time. The building up of the independent court system, remove all the immunities from members of parliament, from the judges, because everybody should be equal before the law.”

euronews
“But in order to implement this set of reforms, economic and against the corruption, the country needs to get out from this post-Soviet system, framework…”

Petro Poroshenko
“The person who is involved in the corruption don’t have any umbrella anymore and they understand sooner or later, better sooner, he will be responsible. Oligarchs are not making decisions about what will be the development of the country and I am absolutely sure that we live now in a different country, in a free and democratic Ukraine which was created in Maidan during the revolution for dignity. Because of the fact that thousands of people are giving their lives for the rights of Ukraine, for making reforms and for being in Europe, this is a very high responsibility, the responsibility of the president, responsibility of the government, responsibility of the parliament, responsibility of all in Ukraine. We are together, we are one country, one nation, a European nation.”