Ukraine’s Ex-President: I Know What It Takes to Defeat Putin

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Former Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko, who led the country from 2005 to 2010, thinks he knows how to defeat Russia. He wrote this in an opinion piece in the British newspaper The Guardian.


According to Yushchenko, Ukraine faces “a wild army” led by a man with whom he once had a personal relationship but has since turned into a dictator. “My history with Putin goes back to 2000 when we were both prime ministers. It was only when I ran for president of Ukraine in 2004 that he actively campaigned against me,” Yushchenko writes.

“That’s when it became clear to me how far he wanted to go to get what he wanted. However, that didn’t deter me: after I won the election, I realized I had to try and maintain a workable relationship with him, as the leader of our neighbour to the east,” he said. “But the Putin I had to deal with then no longer exists. Since then, he has become a completely isolated and ruthless despot who cannot endure opposition.”

According to Yushchenko, three things are needed for a Ukrainian victory. First, one thing bothers Putin: international solidarity and support. He, therefore, believes that the global community must not slacken its attitude towards Russia if Ukraine is to defend itself against “the horrors of war successfully”. Second, Yushchenko believes that global attention to Ukraine helps to keep morale up in the country. “Something fundamental as the Russian army regroups in the east,” said the former president.

A second requirement is a Western support in the form of weapons and military aid. “Our military still needs weapons and military assistance from all our allies,” it said. “We need financial help to plug the holes this war has left in our previously strong economy.” A third requirement is a supply of “non-lethal supplies” and protective equipment for the Ukrainian armed forces by ordinary civilians.

“I am convinced that victory for Ukraine is inevitable,” concludes Yushchenko. “If ordinary Ukrainians give up everything to fight for their freedom and dignity, that is the only option.”

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