From left to right: Andriy Parubiy, Arseniy Yatseniuk, Volodymyr Hroisman
Andriy Parubiy, the first deputy speaker of Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada, discussed the Russian threat to global security and the need to maintain sanctions against Russia during an interview with Voice of America, February 25, during his brief stop in the U.S. following an official visit to Canada. He also shared his views on the current political turmoil in Ukraine and the dangers posed by snap elections.
For Parubiy, the leadership role of the United States is critical in countering Russian aggression.
“The role of the United States as a global player and, in the end, as the guarantor of the security of our country is based not only on the fact that the U.S. alone could extend sanctions. This question will be reviewed soon, in June. And I appeal to our American partners to exert maximum influence on our partners from the European Union –because there are real problems with many countries there — so that we have another consensus decision in June regarding the extension of sanctions,” he said.
He added that most of the sanctions against Russia are tied to the implementation of the Minsk agreements but that it was important not to forget about Crimea.
“Actually, the sanctions were imposed after the annexation of Crimea and there can be no discussion, as certain European diplomats are suggesting, about removing sanctions tied to the Minsk agreements. This is a complex issue; this is all Ukrainian territory, seized by Russian invaders. And the question of removing sanctions for the partial freeing of a part of the territory is not acceptable,” he said.
Parubiy related that during his meeting with Deputy Secretary of Defense Michael Carpenter the discussion had to do with the fact that the civilized world wants to see a plan for putting an end to the crisis that has developed around the implementation of the Minsk agreements.
“When we speak, for example, about the paragraph in the Minsk agreements that has to do with changes to the Constitution, I find that it is very controversial at present and that it generates a great deal of opposition in society,” he explained. “The point is that it must be a clear, phased plan and that Ukraine needs to formulate it. The fact is that we believe — and we do believe it — that the borders of Ukraine need to be controlled by the Ukrainian army. That for any elections to take place, all the freedoms must be protected and such a thing as democracy must exist on this territory. Elections are simply tools of democracy and not a political action. Ukraine needs to outline its conditions very clearly so that it can demonstrate them and so we can together gradually carry out the necessary steps.” he said.
According to Parubiy, Ukraine is being pressured even by its European partners for whom the most important thing is to solve the Ukrainian problem as soon as possible.
“In fact, certain European partners, politicians, and diplomats would like to move the Ukrainian question to the side and to forget about it, so it does not hurt their business, their international relations. The U.S. has the duty to defend European values and the security system on which post-war Europe was built. And the U.S. understands that Putin is a global threat for all. This is why they understand and support Ukraine’s position and they have ways of influencing our European partners to jointly take a tough stance regarding Putin and the Russian Federation in order to continue to lead and intensify the anti-Putin coalition. In fact, this is what I called for when I was secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine. ” he said.
Andriy Parubiy also expressed his views on resolving the problems that have emerged in the Ukrainian government, in the parliamentary-governing coalition.
“First, my position is that this crisis has been somewhat manufactured and histrionic. It turned into a real crisis when two factions wrote statements of withdrawal from the coalition. This issue is of extreme concern to our partners here in the U.S. (They question) if Ukraine will be able to get through these tests and if we will be able to maintain stability in Ukraine and to carry out reforms. And when we speak about early elections, I am deeply convinced that that would be the worst scenario possible for Ukraine at present. It would mean bringing the country to a standstill and stopping reforms,” he said.
Parubiy gave the example of neighboring Moldova, where, after long years of struggle between the pro-Russian and pro-Europeans forces, the pro-European force won, as in Ukraine.
“After this the crisis began, a month before Moldova was to receive the IMF tranche, the government resigned, there were three government in a year, and there were snap elections. There were huge protests in the streets. However, the leaders of two of the three political entities who are managing these protests report to the Kremlin every other week, and do so officially, without hiding. Opinion research indicates that if we have early elections again, the pro-Russian forces will have a majority.”
Andriy Parubiy calls (the push for snap elections) an element of the hybrid war and considers such a scenario the worst one for Ukraine.