Kyiv Security Forum

Arseniy Yatsenyuk: Putin’s plans haven’t changed. The Kremlin can only be sobered up with severe financial and personal sanctions against the tops of Russia’s leadership structure

11 April 2019, 14:47

“Any attempts to negotiate with Russia and Putin are a waste of time unless we support them with severe pressure,” stated the founder of the “Open Ukraine” Foundation and Ukrainian Prime Minister (2014-2016), Arseniy Yatsenyuk, at the 12th Kyiv Security Forum.

He emphasized that the war in Ukraine continues: “People try to push it out of their consciousness, to find a quick solution to the problem. And this is natural, they can be understood. However, the reality is starkly different. The war is not over. And Putin’s plans haven’t changed.”

 “If anyone believes that Putin is a person that wants peace and is trying to end the war — that’s nonsense. Putin is a person that provokes conflict all around the world. He is nurturing a foundational conflict not only with the West, but with democracy in the world, in Ukraine,” said Arseniy Yatsenyuk. 

Stopping Putin and restoring the territorial integrity of Ukraine is a task for our nation, and for the entire world,” emphasized the founder of the “Open Ukraine” Foundation”: “We lack decisiveness. I want to openly declare this. Any attempt to negotiate with Putin and Russia about stopping the war is pointless if we don’t support it with concrete methods and strategies, very severe pressure.”

In addition, he said that we need effective sanctions. Arseniy Yatsenyuk emphasized that the current sanction mechanism is “far from perfect”.

In the opinion of Arseniy Yatsenyuk, we need severe sanctions placed on the energy market and the trade of hydrocarbons, including a denial of the construction of “Nord Stream 2”.

Severe financial sanctions must also be implemented: “We are talking about blocking accounts, blocking technologies and companies. And about implementing personal sanctions not only against companies, but against the tops of Russia’s leadership structure. Only this can sober them up.”

Arseniy Yatsenyuk also stressed the importance of fighting propaganda: “Freedom of speech — is not a freedom for Russian lies. Freedom of speech — is not a freedom for “Russia Today”. Freedom of speech — is the great achieve of knowing the truth. It’s the ability to counteract any type of “fake” currently being distributed in the world, to distribute true and honest information.

Arseniy Yatsenyuk also emphasized that the peace process needs a new agenda: “We need to address the ineffectiveness of the Minsk Protocol. Yes, the initial stages of the Minsk Protocol did at least reduce the amount of shootings and widespread aggression. However, in its current form — namely in more of a Russian interpretation — the Minsk Protocol not only needs an update, but a new agenda and approach. 

Arseniy Yatsenyuk stated that Russia must also face financial consequences for its occupation and aggression against Ukraine: “Today, Ukraine demands compensation for damages caused by Russian aggression, tomorrow, Ukraine will demand compensation for the unlawful seizure of Donetsk, Luhansk, and Crimea. Ultimately, we need to begin restoring Donetsk, Luhansk, and the Autonomous Republic of Crimea.”

He emphasized that the return of Donetsk, Luhansk, and the Autonomous Republic of Crimea cannot be separated: “This is nothing more than a diplomatic game. For Ukraine these are all issues of equal value. This is our country, this is our land.” 

“Therefore, there are three points that need to be added to any agenda towards restoring the territorial integrity of Ukraine. Russia and Putin, return Donetsk, return Luhansk, return Crimea, and remove your army from our, Ukrainian territory,” said Arseniy Yatsenyuk.


This year’s Kyiv Security Forum, which took place on April 11-12, gathered a record number of participants — over 1000. Among them — high ranking representatives of state and statehood, diplomats, and experts from over 20 countries.  

The annual “Kyiv Security Forum” was initiated by the Arseniy Yatsenyuk “Open Ukraine” Foundation in 2007. Since then, the Forum has become a platform for high-level, international discussions about relevant matters of national security, as well as the security of the Black Sea region, Europe, and the world.