Kyiv, December 19, 2013 – Today Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovych met with the Ukrainian press for first time after his Moscow agreement with Vladimir Putin regarding a 1/3 discount on the price of gas and a huge $15 bln loan from Russia.
In a 90 minute television interview on major TV stations and newspapers, he expressed his opinion on many topics including European perspectives of Ukraine, the EuroMaidan protest, political crisis, opposition leaders, and the forthcoming 2015 presidential elections.
Below are the most significant quotes from his interview today:
On The 2015 Presidential Elections
Answering the question about his candidacy for the next 2015 presidential elections, Victor Yanukovych replied: “If I see that I have good prospects and the people will give me the opportunity to continue my work … only then I will make the decision [to run]. Generally speaking, if my rating is low and there are no prospects, then I will not hinder the country in its development,” he said.
On Opposition Leaders
President Yanukovych said that he is strongly against taking power in a revolutionary way and urged the opposition politicians to wait for elections.
“This unconstitutional attempt to seize power is not the first in our country. I have already seen it. I am strongly against initiating such revolutionary processes. We have elections, a constitution, and dates set for elections. Wait for elections, and the Ukrainian people will make their choice. Why are you hurrying up?” he said.
According to Yanukovych, not everyone can be a significant figure in certain sectors. “Those who are unable to become talented poets, composers, painters should do something different … A wish alone doesn’t mean that God blessed you with this talent,” he said.
“Some people were acting too hastily, overestimated their powers and abilities, and committed very disrespectful acts towards all society”, said Yanukovych, commenting on the brutal and bloody dispersal of the rally on Bankova Street on December 1.
“You should keep your own ambitions under control, especially if you aim to achieve the highest posts. You shouldn’t neglect society. Any such situation leads to crisis. You should understand the consequences for the economy. You should be responsible. I believe that the Ukrainian people are wiser than any politicians,” he added.
On “Bloody Saturday”, November 30
“We want to be objective. The authority wasn’t interested in this conflict, and it wasn’t a part of our interests. I also want to know the truth. There’re a lot of rumors. I invited Kluev [NSDC secretary], when this information became known [leaks of prosecutors’ protocols with statements of resigned Kyiv mayor Popov, and resigned NSDC’s deputy secretary Sivkovych], and asked him: “What was your purpose?” He answered: “To stabilize the situation. I’d like to come to the General Prosecutor’s office, and deal with it”. The investigators have all the opportunities to reach an optimal result in this investigation,” said President Yanukovych.
On The EuroMaidan Rally
President Yanukovych announced the commencement on Friday, December 20 of the second round of negotiations between authorities and the EuroMaidan activists, opposition leaders, and representatives of the civil society. “We will draw conclusions about all that happened during the previous week,” he said.
“It’s very important to have other countries not involved in our internal affairs thinking that they could rule here. I am strongly against those who would like to teach us how to live. We have enough political will and responsibility towards future generations. We should learn to protect our interests,” said Yanukovych.
On an Opportunity to Sign the Association with the EU along with Joining the Customs Union
“This [simultaneous moves] doesn’t contradict any international agreements… Ukraine should find the model of relations with our strategic partners which will be OK for all,” said Yanukovych.
On the Russian Gas Price Discount
“Russia has limited its gas supplies to Ukraine. Is it worth it to them? No. We asked them: ‘Do you want to increase your gas supply and sales?’ They answered: ‘Yes, we do.’ So, we replied: ‘Drop the price, and we will increase the volume of your gas purchases.’ This was the compromise [in gas negotiations]!” explained Yanukovych.
Quotes translated by Viktor Kovalenko and William Buschur for EuroMaidan Translations.