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'New kind of war'

Michael LawtonApril 28, 2014

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk tells DW about the danger he sees in current Russian policy in the area. He says that Russia has been waging a new kind of war "for 10 years."

Arsenij Jazenjuk und Alexandra von Nahmen
Image: DW

In an interview with DW, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk has accused Russia of waging "a new type of war."

Speaking to DW's Alexandra von Nahmen in Kyiv, he referred specifically to uniformed militants operating in eastern Ukraine:

"Have you seen these green guys with no insignia on their uniforms?" he said. "Russia has always objected, saying this is not the Russian military. But three days ago, President Putin confirmed that these were Russian soldiers. So I am talking about a new type of war, which Russia already waged."

Talk of third world war is not an 'exaggeration'

Yatsenyuk repeated his view that the situation in Ukraine could escalate into a third world war.

"This is not like previous wars," he said, "but this is the war that Russia started 10 years ago when they first started to bypass Ukraine with the new energy routes." Yatsenyuk said the war had continued with pressure on trade with Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. Russia had prevented countries from joining NATO by interfering in their domestic affairs. It had taken part of Georgia and then annexed Crimea. "How could I name this? It isn't a war? It's just a peaceful process?"

Optimism over sanctions

He insisted that the pro-Russian separatists who were occupying government buildings in eastern Ukraine would be better described as "pro-Russian terrorists." And he stressed that his government's prime aim was to protect civilians, despite the difficult situation.

"We are in a trap," he said. "On the one hand, we need to protect civilians. On the other hand, if we start a comprehensive and large-scale counterterrorist operation, this would lead to a relatively high death toll, including civilian casualties."

But his main purpose was to work together with the US and the EU to use sanctions in order to bring Russia back to negotiations.

"We strongly believe this is our joint aim, with the entire international community, to make Russia not a gangster, but to make Russia a country that sticks to international standards and meets international agreements."