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, Steven L Herman is the Voice of America Asia correspondent.

You May Like

IS Militants Release 49 Turkish Hostages

Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency reports that no ransom was paid and no conditions accepted for the hostages' release; few details of the release are known More

Photogallery IS Attacks Send Thousands of Syrian Kurds Fleeing to Turkey

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says more than 300 Kurdish fighters crossed into Syria from Turkey to defend a Kurdish area from attack by the Islamic militants More

Sierra Leone's Ebola Lockdown Continues

Thousands of health workers are going door to door in the West African country of 6 million, informing people of how to avoid Ebola, handing out soap More

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.
Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calaisi
X
Lisa Bryant
September 19, 2014 5:04 PM
The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video CERN Accelerator Back in Business

The long upgrade of the Large Hadron Collider is over. The scientific instrument responsible for the discovery of the Higgs boson -- the so-called "God particle" -- is being brought up to speed in time for this month's 60th anniversary of the European Organization for Nuclear Research, known by its French acronym CERN. Physicists hope the accelerator will help them uncover more secrets about the origins of the universe. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid