Former Ukrainian president says the Vladimir Putin he once dealt with ‘no longer exists,’ outlines how the world can defeat the ‘brutal despot’


Vladimir Putin behind a desk

One thing that “really bothers” Russian leader Vladimir Putin is “international solidarity and support,” says former Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko.ANDREY GORSHKOV/SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images

  • Former Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko has outlined how Russian President Vladimir Putin can be defeated.

  • In an op-ed, Yushchenko wrote that the Putin he once dealt with as Ukraine’s leader “no longer exists.”

  • He said Putin is now a “completely isolated and brutal despot who cannot stand any opposition.”

Former Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko, who led the country from 2005 to 2010, has outlined a three-prong approach that he believes will help defeat Vladimir Putin.

In an op-ed for The Guardian published on Sunday, Yushchenko said Ukraine now faces a “savage army” led by someone he once had a personal history with but has since morphed into a “dictator.”

“My own history with Putin goes back to 2000 when we were both prime ministers of our respective countries. It was only when I ran to be president of Ukraine in 2004 that he actively campaigned against me,” Yushchenko wrote.

“The extreme lengths he was willing to go to in order to get what he wanted became clear. I could not allow this to deter me; after I won, I realized that I needed to try to keep a workable relationship with him as the leader of our neighbor in the east,” he wrote.

“But the Putin I dealt with then no longer exists. He has since become a completely isolated and brutal despot who cannot stand any opposition,” he added.

According to Yushchenko, one thing that “really bothers” Putin is “international solidarity and support.”

He wrote that for Ukraine to succeed, there must not be fatigue in the global community towards “the horrors of war.” This would help those fighting against Putin avoid losing sight of victory — particularly now that the Russian army is re-grouping before the next onslaught.

Yushchenko added that a second prong involves continued weapons and military assistance, which would be vital for the battle ahead.

“Our army continues to need weapons and military assistance from all our allies,” he wrote. “And we need monetary assistance to help us plug the holes that this war is blowing in our previously strong economy.”

A third prong concerns how civil societies can and should continue helping Ukrainian forces to obtain “non-lethal supplies” and protective equipment.

“I strongly believe that victory for Ukraine is inevitable,” Yushchenko wrote. “When ordinary Ukrainians give everything up to fight for their freedom and dignity, victory is the only option.”

Read the original article on Business Insider