Ukraine is facing a complete loss of its sovereignty and, potentially, a merger with Poland, former President Viktor Yanukovych has warned.
The ex-president, who was ousted in the 2014 Maidan coup, released an extensive address on Friday in which he shared his thoughts about the roots of the ongoing turmoil and the potential fate of the country.
The current role of Ukraine as an instrument against Russia was outlined by the collective West long before the conflict between Moscow and Kiev broke out in late February, the ex-president believes.
“In 2014 already, Ukraine was designated by certain Western countries as a territory from which a total weakening of Russia should begin. Precisely as a territory, and not as an independent state, not as people wishing to live in peace with all its neighbors, not excluding Russia,” Yanukovych stated.
The current conflict may bring fatal consequences for the country, he went on. Ukraine risks not only losing vast territories “in its south and east” but also a “complete destruction” of its sovereignty, Yanukovych believes.
The threat stems not only from the military conflict itself but also the efforts of the Ukrainian authorities to cozy up to the country’s western neighbor Poland.
Earlier this month, Polish President Andrzej Duda and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky expressed hopes that the two countries would “no longer have a border” between them, while Kiev announced plans to grant special legal status to Polish citizens.
The strengthening ties will not bring Ukraine’s purported “European dream” any closer, but rather threatens a “merger” with Poland, Yanukovych warned.
“The ongoing situational rapprochement with Poland threatens a situation where Ukraine may be forced to de-facto merge with it.”
Russia attacked the neighboring state following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The German- and French-brokered protocols were designed to give the breakaway regions special status within the Ukrainian state.
The Kremlin has since demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc.
Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two republics by force.