Russia news agencies released a phone call where former political prisoner Yulia Tymoshenko said it was time to exterminate the Russians and President Vladimir Putin. She said the state media outlet misrepresented the phone call.
Tymoshenko and Ukrainian Member of Parliament Nestor Shufrych discussed Russia annexing Crimea. Here are a few excerpts from the phone call:
“This really crosses all the boundaries,” she is heard to say in the leaked phone call posted on YouTube and broadcast extensively Monday evening on Russian television.
“One has to take up arms and go wipe out these damn ‘katsaps’ together with their leader,” the voice said in Russian, without mentioning President Putin by name.
The word ‘katsap’ is a derogatory Ukrainian term for Russians.
“I am sorry that I am not able to be there and am not in charge of these processes, they wouldn’t have had a f*cking chance of getting Crimea off me.”
“I would have found a way to finish off these bastards.”
“I am hoping that I will use all my connections and will get the whole world to rise up so that not even scorched earth would be left of Russia.”
Discussing the fate of Ukraine’s 8 million ethnic Russians, Tymoshenko was also heard saying that they should be “nuked.”
She said it is her voice.
“In fact I said: ‘Russians in Ukraine are Ukrainians. Cheers to FSB,” she said, referring to the Russian security service who she clearly believes were behind the bugging of the phone call.
“Apologies for the expletives,” she added.
Tymoshenko ran against ousted Russian-backed president Viktor Yanukovych in 2010 and she was thrown in jail on corruption charges right after he won. Her allies and countries in the West believe the charges were false. In fact, one of the stipulations of the European Union Association Agreement with Ukraine was her release to a hospital in Germany.
She was released from jail on February 21 after Yanukovych signed an agreement with parliament. He later fled to Kharkiv and parliament formally ousted him as president.