Tymoshenko warns of guerrilla war

March 08, 2014 - 1:44:39 am

Russian Navy ships block the entrance to the Crimean port of Sevastopol, yesterday.

DUBLIN: Leading Ukrainian politician Yulia Tymoshenko said there was a danger of guerrilla war in Crimea should it be incorporated into Russia and appealed to Germany and others yesterday for immediate economic sanctions against Moscow.

She said a Russian takeover of the Crimean peninsula would create long-term dangers for the whole region. 

Speaking after a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Tymoshenko said international measures against Russia had so far been ineffective and called for immediate action to prevent a “flashpoint”.

“As of today, those instruments that have already been applied by the US and the EU didn’t produce any tangible effects,” she said, summarising her message to Merkel.

“If these instruments do not produce results, there are two options left. To opt for next strongest sanctions, I proposed a set of nonviolent, economic measures.” The alternative, she said, was to give Crimea to Russia. “They have to be very convincing for Putin to send the strongest signal that it would not be tolerated.”

She also underscored the “serious obligation” of the United States and Britain to support Ukraine, referring to an earlier agreement with Kiev to surrender nuclear arms in exchange for their pledge to guarantee its territory. 

“In terms of international law, there are clearly defined country guarantors, namely the US and the United Kingdom.”

Crimea’s parliament has voted to secede from Ukraine and join Russia, calling a referendum on the question. The West, Tymoshenko said, should not accommodate such action. “The immediate consequences would be guerrilla warfare,” she said, speaking through a translator. “(This)...would be a real flash point in the Black Sea.

“Putin would be allowed to (use) such instruments with a military component in the Crimean case, then where will he stop?”

“He goes as far as he will be allowed to go,” said Tymoshenko, who suffers from back problems and sat in a wheelchair throughout the interview.

“Who is next? We never will be able to stabilise the situation in Ukraine and the wider region, if it will be a permanent conflict.”

Tymoshenko was strongly at odds with now deposed President Viktor Yanukovich, and was considered a political prisoner by the European Union until she was freed from jail hours after he fled the country. She had been imprisoned in 2011 over a gas deal that she signed with Russia.

Reuters

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