March 12, 2014
Yatsenyuk: Meeting with Obama "Frank and Open"
Following the meeting with President Obama, Yatsenyuk spoke at the Atlantic Council, where he said he and Obama had a “very frank and open” discussion about the crisis and what the Ukrainian government needs. He said he was “satisfied” with the response from the United States and Europe and commended the American people for their support.
He minced no words about where the Ukraine stands on Russia’s incursion into Crimea.
“It’s all about freedom,” said Yatsenyuk. “We want to be very clear. We will never surrender.”
He maintained that the upcoming referendum on Crimea independence is illegal, and disputed Russian arguments that the Ukrainian government cannot support Crimea or protect Russian supporters.
“Crimea is an integral part of Ukraine,” he said. “This is our territory and these are our citizens.”
Calling the military action in Crimea by Russia a threat to global security, Yatsenyuk warned that once “the bloodshed” begins in the peninsula, it may never end.
He also had harsh words for President Putin, who he said could be trying to take over all of Ukraine. Yatsenyuk referenced a speech Putin made years ago where the Russian leader said the biggest disaster of the last century was the destruction of the Soviet Union.
“The biggest disaster of this century would be the restoration of the Soviet Union,” he said.