‘March on Moscow’ among President Poroshenko’s options to end Ukrainian crisis
In an interview with Ukrainian TV Channel 5, President Poroshenko listed three possible scenarios that could lead to the resolution of the Ukraine crisis.
The first approach to conflict resolution, was “a decisive offensive to free the [eastern Ukrainian] region and a march on Moscow," although Poroshenko called it “irresponsible” and “foolhardy” as well as admitting the Ukrainian people did not support the move.
“The second option is to build a wall and give away part of our territory," referring to the rebellious Donbass area in the east of the country. "We could live on without Donbass. Is this way possible? Yes, it is possible. However, I will not trade off Ukraine. I will not give the smallest piece of Ukrainian land to anyone,” Poroshenko said.
He added that he would “fight for returning both annexed Crimea and the occupied Donbass territories” and would “do his best” to achieve this goal.
“The third way is to restore Ukraine’s sovereignty, Ukrainian territorial authority over the [Donbass] region. And this way is called the Minsk agreements,” Poroshenko said, adding no one has yet proposed any plausible alternative to this scenario.
The Ukrainian president also said the Minsk agreements envisage “withdrawal of foreign troops from Ukrainian territory” and “release of Ukrainian prisoners arrested in Russia” along with the ceasefire, withdrawal of weapons and constitutional reform.
Speaking about the reform of the constitution, the president once again emphasized the amendments he proposed would remove Article 92 of the Constitution, which gives ‘special status’ for individual cities, so that “there would be no ‘special statuses, no parades of sovereignties.’”
He also said the constitutional reform project implies only “special local governance procedures for the Lugansk and Donetsk regions” and not “special status.”
The controversial constitutional reform project has already led to an outbreak of violence in Kiev, during protests against the amendments in front of the Ukrainian parliament building on August 31. As a result of the clashes on Constitution Square between radicals, police and the Ukrainian National Guard, three people died and more than a hundred were injured.
Poroshenko stressed Ukraine “should be ready for any developments."
In the interview, Poroshenko called the Minsk agreements the only way to resolve the Ukraine crisis, but less than two weeks ago he said these accords were being used by Ukraine to build up its forces.
“The Minsk agreement despite all criticism has given us time to build up Ukraine’s defense. It allowed us to partially bridge the gap in military capacity we have against Russia,” he said at the time. “The times of airheaded pacifism and shortsighted rejection of security issues are forever in the past now.”
In his belligerent speech, President Poroshenko also warned the people should prepare for a long-lasting conflict. He stated: “The military threat from the east is a prospect for decades to come. This threat will not pass anytime soon and every new generation has to have army training.”
As recently as August 3, the Ukrainian leader said in an interview to the French RFI channel that Russia had not only invaded Ukraine, but was also going to attack Finland and the Baltic states, claiming Putin “wants the whole Europe.”
He also asserted that Western countries should lend Kiev material and moral support to help it “wage a fight for democracy.”
It wasn’t the first time Poroshenko has delivered what Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov called “unthinkable, crazy statements.” In June, the Ukrainian president told the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera that there were as many as 200,000 Russian troops in Ukraine, which amounts to about a quarter of Russia’s entire military forces.
Earlier, addressing the Ukrainian parliament, Poroshenko mentioned only 9,000 Russian troops in Ukraine, although neither the intelligence service nor OSCE observers had detected any Russian troops crossing the border with Ukraine.
Petro Poroshenko often uses anti-Russian rhetoric in his speeches. Even when addressing the issue of constitutional reform in his country, he mentioned his confrontation with Russia. “Who is the first to be against our changes to the Constitution? Putin [is], Russia [is]! If Russian doesn’t like the changes, it means that we are on the right way,” the Ukrainian leader said.
President Poroshenko had also previously dismissed the idea of brotherly ties between Russians and Ukrainians in a conversation with a senior retired Ukrainian diplomat, Yury Shcherbak, who had acted as Ukraine’s ambassador to the US, Canada and Israel during his career.
“We don’t have any brotherly peoples in this current war. There are united Ukrainian people on their way to Europe and then there are the Russian people, who are in a deep crisis,” the Ukrainian leader said.
In agreement with their president’s anti-Russian statements, the country’s National Security and Defense Council has recently approved a new national military strategy, which also defines Russia as a “military adversary.”