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Former Ukrainian president says war can still be averted, but calls for expedited Canadian aid

Former Ukrainian president says war can still be averted, but calls for expedited Canadian aid

Former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has said Canada should speed up any plans to send military aid to his country, expressing hope for a peaceful solution even if Russian troops remain massed on the border.

“We have full, open and huge Russian aggression,” Poroshenko said in an interview broadcast on Sunday on Rosemary Barton Live.

“Expanding the scale of this war, we can avoid this. We can use [diplomacy]”, he told CBC’s chief political correspondent, Rosemary Barton.

Tensions in Ukraine have been high for months, with around 100,000 Russian troops near the common border. Russia recently presented a list of demands to the United States and allied powers, including a permanent ban on Ukraine’s membership in the NATO military alliance.

Poroshenko suggested that the way to deter any aggression from Russian President Vladimir Putin is to do the opposite: present a plan for Ukraine and Georgia to join NATO this summer.

WATCH | The Russian ambassador discusses the crisis in Ukraine:

Talks will ‘probably’ fail if Russia doesn’t get what it wants in Ukraine crisis: Russian ambassador

If Russia doesn’t get what it wants, Russian Ambassador to Canada Oleg Stepanov said diplomatic talks would “probably” fail and Russia would be “forced to look for other countermeasures to maintain intact the balance of security interests in Europe”. He denied that Russia intended to invade Ukraine. 13:43

Russia denies threatening Ukraine with invasion, saying it seeks to negotiate with the United States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization around a stable international security framework. Putin said Russia felt threatened by NATO’s expansion into Eastern Europe.

“I can officially assure you that Russia will not invade Ukraine. Russia does not want to invade Ukraine,” Russian Ambassador to Canada Oleg Stepanov told CBC. power and politics Friday.

Senior diplomats from the United States and Russia met in Geneva on Friday, and while they failed to reach an agreement to defuse the crisis, they indicated talks would continue.

“I think overall Russia is turning this negotiation process into blackmail and a waste of time,” said former Ukrainian ambassador to Canada Andriy Shevchenko. Political power.

Internal unity is needed to face Russia, says Poroshenko

Poroshenko, a billionaire businessman, became president of Ukraine in 2014 after the country’s pro-Russian government led by Viktor Yanukovych was ousted following popular protests.

During its presidency, Ukraine has fought an interminable conflict with pro-Russian separatist forces in the Donbass region in the east of the country.

Poroshenko lost the 2019 elections to Volodymyr Zelensky, the current Ukrainian president. The former president now faces charges of high treason – accused of being involved in coal sales that allegedly helped fund these separatist forces.

Former Ukrainian president says war can still be averted, but calls for expedited Canadian aid
Poroshenko is greeted by Stephen Harper, then Prime Minister, during a visit to Ottawa in September 2014. (Fred Chartrand/The Canadian Press)

He denies the charges and calls them politically motivated. Poroshenko still leads his party, European Solidarity, as a representative in the Ukrainian parliament.

Despite the ongoing political conflict between Poroshenko and Zelensky, the former told Barton that internal unity was needed in the face of a Russian threat.

“It’s the one thing that should unite the nation, including me and Zelensky,” he said.

“Accelerate” Canadian aid

Ukraine has been pushing the international community, including Canada, for additional help – especially military aid – for months. Canada, which has long been one of the country’s top international aid donors, also has some 200 troops in Ukraine providing training.

On Friday, the federal government announced a $120 million loan as the first aid installment. Two sources told CBC News that Ottawa is also considering deliveries of small arms and other military aid.

Poroshenko said Sunday that Ukraine was counting on Canada, and he hoped that help would arrive “as soon as possible” and that Ottawa would “accelerate this process”.

He stressed that he was grateful to Canada for its contributions and assistance to Ukraine so far and in the eight years since the 2014 revolution. He also reiterated that Ukraine considers deliveries of weapons as purely defensive.

“The only goal is to defend Ukraine. If Russia crosses our border, crosses our sideline and takes the very crazy decision to attack and kill Ukrainians, we should raise the price for that,” he said. -he declares.

LISTEN | A Ukrainian MP and a Canadian living in Ukraine discuss the crisis with Russia:

13:45Ukrainians fear threat of Russian invasion

Ukrainian MP Volodymyr Ariev discusses a possible Russian invasion of his country, a Canadian in Kiev talks about preparing for war, and CBC’s Murray Brewster explains what could happen if Russia invades again. 13:45

You can watch full episodes of Rosemary Barton Live on CBC Gem, CBC’s streaming service.