"Together with our western partners, we need to do our best to increase military capabilities of Ukraine to guarantee that this deal is to be executed and implemented by Russia", said Prime Minister of Ukraine Arseniy Yatsenyuk in an interview with CNN on Thursday, February 13.
The Head of Government stressed that Ukraine needs "real and tangible guarantees how to implement the Minsk agreements".
He reminded that in 1994, Ukraine relinquished its nuclear arsenal by signing “a notorious Budapest Memorandum”, "A number of states, including Russia, provided guarantees to Ukraine to preserve its territorial integrity and independence. And it was Russia who violated this agreement, it was Russia who illegally annexed Crimea, and it was Russia who grabbed a part of the independent country – the Ukrainian land, and violated its international obligations".
"What guarantees are there for Ukraine today? Is it the signature of the Russian President or the Russian envoy? No, this won’t give us with any real kind of guarantees. The best guarantee is that Ukraine is to be sustainable and strong state which is capable of defending itself", said Arseniy Yatsenyuk.
"This will include everything that improves and increases the defensive capacity of Ukraine, its economic power and makes Ukraine a strong state," he stressed.
Answering the question about the assessment of the agreements reached in Minsk, Arseniy Yatsenyuk stressed that he highly appreciated the efforts of President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko, that “together they with the support of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President François Hollande hammered out a temporary ceasefire”, "This could probably pave the way to a further long lasting peace".
At the same time he reminded that in September of last year there had already been signed Minsk agreements, "The Ukrainian President and the Government did everything to implement the Minsk deal. On the contrary, Russian, as always, failed and violated the deals".
"We don't trust to any words or any papers. We are to trust only to actions and deeds. If you talk to President Putin, so it is always a challenge. As I do understand that the ultimate goal of President Putin is just to eliminate Ukraine and to execute his "sacred mission" to fight with the West", said Arseniy Yatsenyuk.
"We have just two options - bad and worse. Probably this option will save the lives of Ukrainian soldiers and I hope this option will save lives of Ukrainian civilians, innocent people who are under the constant shelling of Russian-led terrorists. It is important, just important. There is no price to the life of the human being," said he.
The Prime Minister stressed that Russia should "pull back its troops and heavy weapons, artillery, disarm all illegal groups": "But the key issue is whether we are able to regain control of the Ukrainian-Russian border."
"To seal the border between Ukraine and Russia is the key precondition," the Prime Minister underlined.
He emphasized that Russia "would drag the process": "But our goal is to restore control over Donetsk and Luhansk, reinstate the Ukrainian government in all regions, including those under the temporary control of Russian-led terrorists."
Arseniy Yatsenyuk said that the Government "would never talk to terrorists": "My Government will never consider anything that undermines sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of Ukraine. This is our common position with President Poroshenko."
The Prime Minister highlighted the importance of the unity among the EU, the U.S. and Ukraine in order to "make Russia adhere to the agreements and to secure peace both in Ukraine and in Europe": "This is not just a conflict between Ukraine and Russia, it is a geopolitical conflict."
"We have to act together and speak with one voice, to put pressure on Russia. Russia is a threat not only to Ukraine. Russia is a threat to the EU, NATO member states, global order and an international law. We have to restore this order and to stop Russia, which violates international norms and principles, endeavours to redraw the boundaries established after World War II. Russia should pay the price for the illegal annexation of Crimea and invasion of the east of Ukraine," Arseniy Yatsenyuk emphasized.