Savchenko: Ukraine should have fought for Crimea to prevent Donbas war
Ukraine's pilot and MP Nadiya Savchenko shares her views on Ukraine's current policy, amnesty for separatists, NATO and annexation of Crimea (part 3)
Read the original text at svoboda.org.
- For two years, you have been under the constant supervision in prison. Today this “loop” is much stronger, don’t you think so?
- For two years, they have been watching me. Excuse me, I learned even not to scratch my ass. I was not trying to behave there like on a podium. I have learned how to escape from camera, to learn when I am followed. Previously, my mother said to me: "God is watching you." And now everybody is watching me. I have already been a prisoner once. Now I have become smarter. Secret operation cannot be a secret when you talk about it all the time. I see everything, I hear everything.
- What is the biggest problem in Ukraine today?
- Corruption. To catch a thief, you need to be able to steal. I have a problem: I cannot steal. But I understand how it is done, and I will learn how to deal with it. We must wait for the moment when I will be able to change something. Only two weeks have passed after my release.
- What are Poroshenko’s mistakes in his policy on Donbas?
- It seems to me that he made the same mistake as Yanukovych did. Yanukovych did not come out to the people at Maidan, he hit them with force. Ukraine could avoid Maidan, ATO, and war. I will not consider other people's mistakes.
- Can we come to Donbas and talk with the separatists?
- They are just puppets of the Kremlin. They are afraid. I understand it all. But, at least, I am still sending this message. As an MP I can go to some village on Ukraine’s side, as well as talk to those who live behind the contact line. Why just cannot we talk to people? Maybe, it would not solve anything, but they are Ukrainian people. Russians must go home. It is clear that while Russia is there, it would be difficult. Yes, I have been on the front line. At that time, I was ready to talk to them at any time. And allegedly it means that many other [Ukrainian] politicians are willing to negotiate.
- Do you support amnesty [for separatists]?
- You see, the war is not black or white. Yes, there is a cleavage. But I believe that without forgiveness (although I am not a religious person), there will be no future for Ukraine. A part of them should be [amnestied]. I basically support amnesty.
- Should Ukraine fight for Crimea?
- Yes, Ukraine should have fought for Crimea to prevent Donbas war. Even though it was small and exhausted, our army had to fight. Our army was not enough to defend Crimea. If Russians had attacked, the world would have immediately realized that this is aggression.
- Crimea was annexed illegally. Why have the majority of people there supported it?
- Well, certainly not the majority. A referendum? What are you talking about? People were frightened; the tanks arrived. And not the majority of Crimean residents supported it. But there was a large number of Russian-speaking Crimean people who were prepared for [the annexation].
- Do you have a claim to the West?
- I am grateful for their help. We need to do more. It is nice when someone helps you, but we should not always count on someone’s hand. Russia believes that there are only two countries in the world - Russia and America. Everything else is the zone of their interests. If America has the same vision, of course, it is very bad. Yes, we are small. But we are not consumables for large countries. We must fight with it.
- Should Ukraine join NATO?
- In 2006, when this issue was raised, I did not think so, and I was against it. I thought partnership means partnership, and we do not have to join as a junior. Now I see that small countries should unite. If large countries believe that they can eat you, the flock of piranhas is able to eat a shark. If these fishes are not piranhas, but herrings, they will eat a shark. Therefore, we need to stop being herrings; we should unite and be piranhas. NATO is some kind of option for Ukraine today.
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