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Walesa Says Ukraine's Maidan Gave Russia Pretext To Intervene

Lech Walesa Criticizes Russia, Ukrainian Protest Movement
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WATCH: Lech Walesa criticizes Russia and the Ukraine Euromaidan movement

Former Polish President Lech Walesa has criticized leaders of Ukraine's pro-European Maidan protest movement for failing to negotiate with the former government, thus giving Russia a pretext for intervention.

Speaking to RFE/RL on May 23, Walesa said the Maidan protestors "chose the wrong method for their fight."

"They should have engaged in negotiations and pushed for early elections but [instead] there was no dialogue with the legal authorities," he said.

But the former leader of the Solidarity freedom movement said Europe should never accept Russia's intervention in Ukraine and annexation of Crimea.

"We cannot accept what [Russian President Vladimir] Putin has done or continues to do," he said.

Walesa spoke ahead of the 25th anniversary of elections that marked the end of communist rule in Poland.

RFE/RL has been declared an "undesirable organization" by the Russian government.

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