Ukraine PM says country ‘still in a state of war’ with Russia

Kiev conference told Putin wants to destroy country, restore Soviet Union

Ukraine is "still in a state of war" with neighbouring Russia despite a cease-fire between Kiev's forces and Moscow-backed rebels in the east, the country's prime minister said today.

Speaking at a conference with politicians and business leaders in Kiev, Arseniy Yatsenyuk said Russian president Vladimir Putin’s goal is “to take the entire Ukraine” by force.

"We are still in a stage of war and the key aggressor is the Russian Federation. Putin wants another frozen conflict (in eastern Ukraine)," Mr Yatseniuk said.

"His goal is to take the entire Ukraine. Russia is a threat to the global order and to the security of the entire Europe.


"He cannot cope with the idea that Ukraine would be a part of a big EU family. He wants to restore the Soviet Union, " Mr Yatsenyuk said.

He did not mention the second convoy of 250 Russian trucks that entered rebel-held territory in eastern Ukraine earlier today, reportedly filled with almost 2,000 tons of humanitarian aid.

The last truck crossed onto Ukrainian soil from the Russian border town Donetsk, some 200km east of the Ukrainian city with the same name, Rayan Farukshin, a spokesman for Russia’s customs agency, said.

Mr Yatseniuk also praised a new wave of economic sanctions imposed on Russia by the European Union and the United States and said they posed a major threat to the Russian economy.

Yesterday, the United States hit Russia’s largest bank, a major arms maker and arctic, deepwater and shale exploration by its biggest oil companies with new sanctions to punish Moscow for its intervention in Ukraine.

The sanctions, coordinated with similar European Union steps, were triggered by what the West sees as Moscow’s recent effort to destabilise eastern Ukraine by backing pro-Russian separatists with troops, heavy arms and cross-border shelling.

They are the latest economic penalties imposed by the West since Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in March.

The sanctions target companies including Sberbank, Russia’s largest bank by assets, and Rostec, a conglomerate that makes everything from Kalashnikovs to cars, by limiting their ability to access the US debt markets.

They also bar US companies from selling goods or services to five Russian energy companies to conduct deepwater, Arctic offshore and shale projects. The Russian firms affected are Gazprom, Gazprom Neft, Lukoil, Surgutneftegas and Rosneft.

The United States stressed that the sanctions could be removed if Russia, which denies sending troops into eastern Ukraine and arming the separatists, took a series of steps including the withdrawal of all of its forces from its neighbour.