Fox News on February 22, 2015, reported that Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said that his country is not on the verge of collapse and that Russian-backed separatists continue to attack Ukrainian soldiers despite a recent cease fire agreement. Excerpts below:
“We are very far from a collapse,” Yatsenyuk told Fox News. “You know why? We don’t have a cease fire … because a cease fire means that no one shoots. Cease fire means that Russian-led terrorists do not make any kind of ongoing shellings, that they do not kill Ukrainian soldiers and innocent people.”
Yatsenyuk’s comments come about one week after European leaders brokered a cease fire in the roughly 10-month conflict between Russia and Ukraine in the eastern region of the country.
A top European Union official said Thursday that the 28-member bloc will provide armored cars and satellite imagery to monitor the cease fire but is undecided on whether to commit troops to a proposed United Nations-mandated peacekeeping mission.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian military and separatist representatives on Saturday night exchanged dozens of prisoners. Roughly 140 Ukrainian troops and 52 rebels were exchanged, according to a separatist official overseeing the swap.
Earlier this week, the Russia-backed separatists captured the key rail transportation city of Debaltseve,…
Ukrainian soldiers retreated from Debaltseve but not before 13 were killed and 157 were wounded in the fighting, according to Kiev officials.
Yatsenyuk also said Saturday there is “no doubt” that Russian President Vladimir Putin wants to take over Ukraine.
“But let me provide you a bigger scope, what’s really the ultimate goal of President Putin. … He’s fighting with all of us.”
He also repeated his plea for Western allies to supply weapons to the out-gunned Ukrainian forces.
“We have to defend ourselves,” Yatsenyuk said. “Russia is constantly supplying tanks, surface-to-air missiles and the rest of the stuff. And again everyone knows this. We still use outdated Soviet-style equipment.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.