Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko spoke with the BBC about his country’s crisis with Russia. He claimed the country is in a “real war” with Russia and must prepare for a Russian offensive.
“I think we should be ready and I think that we do not give them any tiny chance for provocation,” he told BBC’s Fergal Keane. “That will totally be their responsibility.”
Russia invaded Ukraine after the new pro-Europe parliament ousted Russian-backed President Viktor Yanukovych on February 22, 2014. After he left for Russia, Crimea and East Ukraine declared independence from Ukraine. A war is still occurring in the east, leaving over 6,000 people dead so far.
“Can I be absolutely clear with you, this is not a fight with Russian-backed separatists, this is a real war with Russia,” continued Poroshenko. “The fact that we captured… Russian regular special forces soldiers [is] strong evidence of that.”
Ukrainian officials captured at least two Russian soldiers a few days before Poroshenko’s BBC interview. One soldier claimed on video he was a member of a Russian spying mission in Ukraine.
Alexander Alexandrov said he is “a sergeant in the ‘spetsnaz’ from the central Russian city of Togliatti, and said he was a part of a 14-member group operating near the big border town of Luhansk.” The group was on a mission near the line that separates the Ukrainian government and the rebels with Russian soldiers.
“We were discovered,” he explained on the video. “I was wounded in the leg as I tried to get away. There were 14 members in the group. We’ve been here 4-5 days.”
Since last February, Ukraine maintains Russian soldiers exist in the country. It all started when Crimea rose up against the new government. Crimea pushed out their Kiev-appointed mayor and appointed a pro-Russia mayor. On February 26, 150 gunmen stormed government buildings and raised the Russian flag. Then, Crimea’s parliament dissolved their government and elected a Russian speaker.
At the time, the Kremlin insisted it was only locals who participated in the takeover. In March, Russian President Vladimir Putin explained in the documentary Homeward Bound the exact plan he concocted to capture Crimea out of Ukrainian possession and admitted the Russian government was behind the takeover. He also went into detail how Russian soldiers prepared to rescue ousted Yanukovych.
Throughout 2014, authorities denied the existence of Russian soldiers despite a huge pile of evidence against them. The European Union and America only recently admitted Russian soldiers exist in East Ukraine. Secretary of State John Kerry confessed that Russian propaganda worked on him.