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“Putin’s ultimate goal is to destroy Ukraine,” Ukraine’s foreign minister told CNN

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba. (Carolyn Kaster / Pool / AP)

Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said that he knows what Russian President Putin’s long-term goals are.

Putin “wants the idea of ​​the Ukrainian state to fail. This is his goal.”

Kuleba’s comments come a day after President Vladimir Putin ordered the army to enter parts held by the separatists of eastern Ukraine and signed decrees recognizing the independence of the regions backed by Moscow.

“What I know for sure, and this has been eloquently demonstrated, unfortunately, in his speech yesterday, is that he hates [the] State of Ukraine, he believes that Ukraine has no right to exist,” Kuleba said of Putin.

US President Joe Biden on Tuesday described Russia’s maneuvering in Ukraine as “the beginning of a Russian invasion.” Biden announced what he labeled “first round of punishment” sanctions on Moscow, including two major financial institutions, sovereign debt of Russia and Russian elites and their family members.

Although Kuleba supports the sanctions introduced by Biden, calling them an “important” message, he thinks they are not enough given the current situation.

“No sanctions will be enough until the Russian boots are withdrawn from Ukrainian soil,” Kuleba told CNN. “This is [the] The basic principle, that we must continue to put pressure on Russia, and we in Ukraine proceed from the fact that the sanctions President Biden announced today are only the beginning of the process of deterring President Biden. President Putin and made him withdraw. “

On the topic of specific sanctions to come, Kuleba suggested no single option or possibility should be left off the global table.

“We want every tool available to us to be used to stop Putin,” he said. “If the cost of saving a country is the most, the sanctions are as harsh as possible, then we should implement the harshest sanctions possible.”

While Kuleba told Tapper that the move of Russian troops into Ukrainian-controlled areas of the Donbas region would mark another crossing of boundaries by Putin, he noted that the ongoing conflict manifests above many fronts.

“We should know a simple fact: this is a hybrid war. Russia can attack us physically, but Russia can also attack us in cyberspace… We are in dialogue with our partners. Partners including the United States on defining these red lines will be met with sanctions,” he said, adding, “I want to make it clear that we have to be ready to act very quickly. quickly because the situation can change literally every hour.”

When asked by Tapper to explain why the United States – which lies thousands of miles from Ukraine – should be invested in the conflict, Kuleba pointed to three key factors.

  • “First, in 1994, Ukraine gave up the third largest nuclear arsenal in the world … We gave it up in exchange for special security guarantees from the United States. I promised that if anyone attacks us, the United States will be among the nations that will help us.”
  • “Secondly, what is happening in Ukraine is not only related to Ukraine. President Putin challenges the Euro-Atlantic order. If the West fails in Ukraine, Putin’s next target will be one of NATO members on the country’s eastern flank.”
  • “Third, if Putin succeeds in Ukraine, other players around the globe who want to change the rules, who want to overtake the United States, will see that this is possible, that the West is incapable of doing so. ability to defend what they stand for.”

Summing up his explanation for why the United States was involved in the conflict was appropriate, Kuleba said: “In general … Americans should be concerned with keeping the world order as it is and in the future. The future of this order is being decided right now in Ukraine.”

Read more about CNN’s interview with Ukraine’s foreign minister this.

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