News / Europe

    Russian Aggression May Spread Beyond Ukraine, Kravchuk Warns

    Former Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk talks to lawmakers, parliament session hall, Kyiv, Jan. 29, 2014.
    Former Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk talks to lawmakers, parliament session hall, Kyiv, Jan. 29, 2014.
    In an exclusive interview with VOA in Kyiv, Leonid Kravchuk, the first president of independent Ukraine, warns that war will spread far beyond his country if Russian troops move across the border.

    While the former leader says he hopes international pressure can prevent further aggression in the wake of Mocow's Crimea annexation, he insists Russian President Vladimir Putin “will not be satisfied with only Ukraine — that will not be the stopping point …and this can be the beginning of the Third World War.”

    While Russia denies plans for further military action in Ukraine, it has recently moved troops to the border between the two countries for what Moscow says are military exercises. Some Ukrainians and security analysts have expressed concern that Russia might try to take control of parts of Ukraine or nearby Moldova where there are sizable ethnic Russian populations.

    Nuclear threat

    In both Ukraine and abroad, people have questioned whether the country would be facing possible war with its former ally to the east, had then-president Kravchuk not agreed to send 1,800 nuclear warheads — inherited after the breakup of the Soviet Union — back to Russia.
     
    Ukraine's first president, Leonid Kravchuk, speaks to VOA's Steve Herman in Kyiv, March 25, 2013.Ukraine's first president, Leonid Kravchuk, speaks to VOA's Steve Herman in Kyiv, March 25, 2013.
    x
    Ukraine's first president, Leonid Kravchuk, speaks to VOA's Steve Herman in Kyiv, March 25, 2013.
    Ukraine's first president, Leonid Kravchuk, speaks to VOA's Steve Herman in Kyiv, March 25, 2013.
    Kravchuk said he has “stood for and still stands for nuclear weapons not existing at all,” and that is why he signed the 1994 agreement to remove all nuclear weapons from Ukraine with then-Presidents Boris Yeltsin of Russia and Bill Clinton of the United states.

    In exchange for relinquishing what at the time was the world’s third largest nuclear arsenal, Ukraine, in the subsequent Budapest Memorandum, received guarantees of sovereignty from both Russia and Western powers.

    Russia’s annexation of Crimea, following a flash referendum amid political turmoil in Kyiv, violates that agreement, according to the U.S. and the European Union.

    Kravchuk, president from 1991 to 1994, is now calling for the West to impose tougher sanctions because of Russia’s actions and the military threat it poses.

    Otherwise , he said, Russia could “cross the line,” consequences of which would be “dangerous not only for Ukraine, but also for the world.”

    Putin

    Kravchuk, a top Communist Party official in Ukraine until the dissolution of the Soviet Union, had especially bitter words to describe Putin, whom he remembers as a KGB officer who carried the briefcase of others.

    Kravchuk said Putin “absorbed the worst methods” of the KGB, which, he contends, was responsible for repression and everything else atrocious that happened in the Soviet Union.

    The world should remember that Putin “was raised in the organization,” he said.

    Now honorary chairman of Ukraine’s friendship association with China, Kravchuk said he understands Beijing’s abstention on the U.N. Security Council vote declaring the pro-Russian referendum in Crimea as invalid, adding that China’s decision not to cast a veto alongside Russia, its traditional ally, was actually a small victory for Ukraine.

    Kravchuk noted China shares a long border with Russia and desires to get along with a neighbor who is becoming increasingly aggressive — a situation with which he said Ukrainians can certainly empathize.

    Steve Herman

    A veteran journalist, Steve Herman is VOA's Southeast Asia Bureau Chief and Correspondent, based in Bangkok.

    You May Like

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Before burial at overflowing cemeteries, unidentified dead being swapped for DNA, in case some day relatives come to learn their fate

    Russian Opposition Leader Sues Putin for Conflict of Interest

    Alexei Navalny tells VOA in exclusive interview why transfer of $2 billion from country’s wealth fund to company with ties to President Putin’s son-in-law triggered lawsuit

    Clinton, Sanders Fight for African American Votes

    Some African American lawmakers lining up to support Clinton in face of perceived surge by Sanders in race for Democratic nomination in presidential campaign

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: vladirmir debil from: california
    March 25, 2014 11:19 PM
    Putin still more honest than Obama!

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Filli
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 11, 2016 8:01 PM
    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video US Co-ed Selective Service Plan Stirs Controversy

    Young women may soon be required to register with the U.S. Selective Service System, the U.S. government agency charged with implementing a draft in a national emergency. Top Army and Marine Corps commanders told the Senate Armed Services Committee recently that women should register, and a bill has been introduced in Congress requiring eligible women to sign up for the military draft. The issue is stirring some controversy, as VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from New York.
    Video

    Video Lessons Learned From Ebola Might Help Fight Zika

    Now that the Ebola epidemic has ended in West Africa, Zika has the world's focus. And, as Carol Pearson reports, health experts and governments are applying some of the lessons learned during the Ebola crisis in Africa to fight the Zika virus in Latin America and the Caribbean.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Illinois Voters Have Mixed Emotions on Obama’s Return to Springfield

    On the ninth anniversary of the launch of his quest for national office, President Barack Obama returned to Springfield, Illinois, to speak to the Illinois General Assembly, where he once served as state senator. His visit was met with mixed emotions by those with a front-row seat on his journey to the White House. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Heated Immigration Debate Limits Britain’s Refugee Response

    Compared to many other European states, Britain has agreed to accept a relatively small number of Syrian refugees. Just over a thousand have arrived so far -- and some are being resettled in remote corners of the country. Henry Ridgwell reports on why Britain’s response has lagged behind its neighbors.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.