Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk believes Russian President Vladimir Putin "has a dream to restore the Soviet Union" — and Putin realizing that dream would be disastrous for the rest of the world.
"Every day, he goes further and further,” Yatsenyuk said in an interview that aired Sunday on NBC's “Meet the Press." "And God knows where is the final destination."
Yatsenyuk, who was installed as interim prime minister in February after pro-Kremlin President Viktor Yanukovych abandoned Kiev, said, "I consider that the biggest disaster of this century would be the restoring of the Soviet Union under the auspices of President Putin."
He also condemned those in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk who distributed leaflets mandating that Jews identify themselves as Jewish, vowing to "find these bastards and to bring them to justice."
On Thursday, after a quadrilateral meeting of the United States, Ukraine, Russia and the European Union in Geneva, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called the fliers "grotesque." Vice President Joe Biden is traveling to Kiev this week.
Yatsenyuk said he is asking the U.S. government for "financial and economic support" in defending itself from Russia.
"We need a strong and solid state," he said. "We need financial and economic support. We need to overhaul the Ukrainian military. We need to modernize our security and military forces.
"How can you stop the nuclear-powered state, which is Russian Federation, that spent billions of dollars to modernize their military instead of Ukraine? We need to be in very good shape in order to stop Russia. And for this shape, we need to have and to get the real support from our Western partners."
Yatsenyuk said the deal brokered in Geneva last week to calm the violence in eastern Ukraine hinges on Russia.
"Russia triggered this violence and Russia supported these terrorists, and Russia was obliged to engineer a meeting to condemn terrorists and to condemn those so-called peaceful protesters with AK-74 in their hands, shooting into civilians and shooting into Ukrainian riot police," Yatsenyuk said. "If Russia pulls back its security forces and former KGB agents, this would definitely calm down the situation and stabilize the situation in southern and eastern Ukraine."
- Politics & Government
- President Putin
- President Viktor Yanukovych
- Soviet Union