Former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has presented a five-point agenda to the international community to support his country as it struggles against a massive Russian military invasion.
“In order to bring about peace more quickly, Ukraine must be stronger,” Poroshenko, 56, told Current Time, explaining his country’s top priority. “In order for Ukraine to be stronger, it must have more weapons.”
In recent weeks, Poroshenko has been in the forefront of Ukrainian diplomatic efforts as the war against Russia has entered its second month and has brought devastation to many Ukrainian towns and cities. He presented Kyiv’s action plan to the European Parliament on March 23.
Kyiv is calling for a “lend-lease” program to provide “everything from food to munitions,” help gaining control over its airspace through the urgent supply of fighter aircraft and anti-aircraft batteries, and a “second front” of “hellish sanctions” against Russia including a complete trade embargo, Poroshenko said.
“Such an embargo will stop them for sure,” he added. “It is unacceptable that [Russia is selling commodities for] $1 billion a day – that is 300 Russian tanks or 200 Iskander missiles for each day that Russia is getting this money. We must stop this and we will. That is the second front.”
In addition, Kyiv is calling for a massive program of economic support for the “post-war rebuilding of the economy” and for the European Union to “open its doors” to Ukraine.
“This year, Ukraine must receive official candidate status,” he said. “We are really counting on this.”
Poroshenko argued that Russian President Vladimir Putin has been surprised by Ukrainian unity in the face of the invasion, which was launched on February 24.
“Putin was counting on blowing up Ukrainian stability from within,” Poroshenko said. “But we never gave him a chance. Ukrainians now are united and are demonstrating, to the surprise of the world, how to repel an aggressor. Putin, who was counting on raising the Russian flag in Kyiv within 36 hours, has already paid a huge price.”
Poroshenko added that he has pledged his complete support to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, who soundly defeated him in the 2019 presidential election.
“I met with Zelenskiy immediately after February 24,” Poroshenko recalled. “We shook hands and we agreed to begin everything from a clean slate. He can solidly count on my support because now we have a common enemy. And that enemy is Putin.”
“We are united around Ukraine,” he added. “Everyone is a soldier now, and the war has made us all equals.”
“They don’t scare us,” he said about the Russian armed forces. “They have no idea where they are. We are enormously motivated because we are fighting for our land, for our people, for our families…for our future. And what are Russian soldiers doing here? They can’t even answer that question themselves.”