Avakov says independent Ukraine is nonsense to Putin / Photo from mvs.gov.ua

Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov says an independent Ukraine is nonsense to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"An independent Ukraine is nonsense to Putin," he told Ukrainian TV channel 1+1.

Avakov recalled that late in 2019, when a Ukrainian delegation was going to the Normandy Four summit in Paris, he anticipated Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky would unlikely come to an agreement with his Russian counterpart.

Read alsoUkraine's envoy links increased shelling in Donbas with sanctions against MedvedchukAt that moment, Zelensky was determined to do everything possible and try to negotiate with Putin, the minister said.

"He is a critical thinker and he saw it was impossible. And if earlier it was a kind of tactics of his behavior, now his behavior is based on his principles. I hope so," Avakov said.

Meanwhile, TV host Natalia Moseichuk said some media outlets call Zelensky a "ball with a displaced center of gravity," which "hits" both pro-Russian MP Viktor Medvedchuk, who is an ally of Putin in Ukraine, and pro-Ukrainian activists.

She asked whether there was any logic behind such actions by the Ukrainian president.

"One cannot compare the strength used to hit Medvedchuk, a pro-Russian fifth column, and the activists... It's a matter of the principles formulated by Zelensky for himself, which he now adheres to, and he is on track. He just cannot make everyone happy," the minister said.

Avakov says he hopes the president will not abandon his principles.

Sanctions against pro-Russian forces in Ukraine

  • On February 2, 2021, President Volodymyr Zelensky enacted a National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) decision of February 2, 2021, to impose sanctions on Member of Parliament Taras Kozak and a number of TV channels Kozak owns, such as 112 Ukraine, NewsOne, and ZIK. After that, the channels were immediately disconnected from broadcasting.
  • On February 19, 2021, the NSDC decided to impose sanctions on 19 legal entities and eight individuals. In particular, sanctions shall be applied to MP from the Opposition Platform - For Life Party Viktor Medvedchuk and his wife Oksana Marchenko. All their property and assets are subject to the sanctions.
  • According to NSDC Secretary Oleksiy Danilov, the SBU Security Service of Ukraine has been investigating a case under Part 5 of Article 258 (financing of terrorism), and the latest sanctions were applied to Medvedchuk, Marchenko, and other persons precisely in connection with the said probe.
  • The NSDC also made a decision to nationalize part of the Samara – Western Direction fuel pipeline, now owned by Prykarpatzakhidtrans, which is said to be linked with Medvedchuk.
  • On February 26, Ukraine's NSDC decided to impose sanctions on high-ranking officials and senior officers who betrayed Ukraine during the events of 2014 and supported Russia's aggression. Ten people were put on the sanction list; they were stripped of state awards and military ranks.