Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said in a pre-recorded interview on “Meet the Press” that Russian President Vladimir Putin is trying to restore the Soviet Union, “and God knows where is the final destination.”
Speaking with NBC’s David Gregory, Yatsenyuk addressed concerns that Putin has started calling Ukraine “Novorossiya,” or “New Russia.”
“President Putin has a dream to restore the Soviet Union,” he said, according to a partial transcript provided by NBC News. “And every day he goes further and further. And God knows where is the final destination.”
Yatsenyuk cited Putin’s 2005 address to the Russian Federal Assembly, when Putin called the breakup of the Soviet Union “a major geopolitical disaster” of the 20th century. Part of the tragedy, Putin said, was that millions of Russian “co-citizens and compatriots” found themselves suddenly living in another country. Putin has used similar language as his justification for annexing Crimea and possibly moving further into eastern Ukraine.
“I consider that the biggest disaster of this century would be restoring the Soviet Union under the auspices of President Putin,” Yatsenyuk said.
Yatsenyuk also addressed news this week that Jews in eastern Ukraine were being told to register with local authorities.
“Today… I made a clear statement urged Ukrainian military and security forces and Ukrainian Department of Homeland Security urgently to find these bastards and to bring them to justice,” he said.