Moscow wants 'the whole country' says former president of Poland
RUSSIAN President Vladimir Putin is ready to do "almost everything" to have the entire Ukraine within the zone of his influence, a former president of Poland has warned a conference in Dublin.
Aleksander Kwasniewski said that despite the ceasefire, he is "pessimistic" about the situation in Ukraine, and believes the conflict will not be easily resolved.
Speaking at an international conference on 'Ukraine - One year after Maidan', held at the Institute for International Conflict Resolution and Reconstruction at Dublin City University, Mr Kwasniewski said Mr Putin's goal is to destabilise and "to destroy" Ukraine.
He claimed Russian expectations are that the exhausted Ukrainians will one day say that their experiment with the West is finished and that they cannot continue and that the only way is to forge a special relationship with Russia.
"My forecast is pessimistic, I think we have in front of us a very dramatic and very long crisis," he said.
The conference was organised by Donnacha O'Beachain, an expert in conflict resolution at DCU, who said that it had turned out to be particularly timely because of the ceasefire, called just the night before.
Meanwhile, Andriy Shevchenko, a former Ukrainian MP and Maidan activist, told the Irish Independent that Irish people may feel that this conflict is "far away" but he warned that it threatened the stability of the entire continent of Europe.
A prominent Russian TV station recently ran a four-minute news slot calculating how long it would take Russian troops to reach key European capitals like Berlin and Kiev, he said.
However, he also said that while the ceasefire was positive, Russia's track record is very bad regarding previous deals.
"It would not be the first time a ceasefire was broken but we hope it will work," he said.
Mr Shevchenko said a two pronged approach is required which would both allow Putin to save his face and also guarantee the safety of the Ukrainian people.