Ukrainian Ambassador Warns Russia Is Attacking Democracy “They Will Not Stop After Ukraine”
Amb. Oksana Markarova appeared on CBS’ “Face the Nation” to discuss Russia’s massing of an estimated 130,000 troops near the border with Ukraine and mounting concerns that Moscow is planning an invasion.
“If Ukraine will be further attacked by Russia, of course, they will not stop after Ukraine,” Markarova said. “That’s why it’s in the interest of Europe and all the democratic world to help us to defend ourselves but also to show that the international rule of law still works.”
Markarova called Russia the “aggressor” in a war against democracy that she said began in Ukraine eight years ago with the illegal occupation of Crimea.
“It’s an attack on democracy and I believe nobody is safe if Ukraine will be attacked,” she said.
The ambassador said Ukraine has spent eight years defending itself, fighting for democracy and its future in Europe.
“We don’t want to be part of the Soviet Union or the Russian Empire or the Russian Federation,” Markarova said. “We want to be sovereign. We are sovereign and we are fighting for our independence.”
While Ukraine has been seeking NATO membership for years, Russia has long resented NATO’s granting membership to countries that were once part of the Soviet Union or were under its influence as members of the Warsaw Pact.
Russia has demanded NATO vow never to allow Ukraine to join the alliance, and to stop the deployment of NATO weapons near Russian borders and roll back its forces from Eastern Europe.
Markarova made light of questions about friction between the U.S. and Ukraine over the timing of when to impose sanctions against Russia and reaffirmed that the U.S. is its “strategic friend.”
While Markarova said Ukraine believes the circumstance for sanctions is there now, the U.S. and European Union countries have said that a Russian invasion would trigger heavy sanctions.
As warnings of a possible Russian invasion increase, the U.S. has placed 8,500 troops on heightened preparedness for deployment should that occur.
Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin has made no public remarks about the Western response.