Speed Reads

not mincing words

Ukraine's foreign minister says Putin's 'ultimate goal is to destroy Ukraine'

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said he believes Russian President Vladimir Putin's "ultimate goal is to destroy Ukraine."

Kuleba made this bold statement on Tuesday during an interview with CNN's Jake Tapper. On Monday, Putin signed a decree recognizing two separatist regions of Ukraine as independent, and ordered troops to the areas on a "peacekeeping" mission. Kuleba told Tapper it's clear that Putin "is not interested in parts of Ukraine. He is not interested in even keeping the entire country in his control. He wants idea of the Ukrainian statehood to fail."

Kuleba said earlier Tuesday, at the U.S. State Department, that Ukraine will not give up without a fight.

The United States, United Kingdom, and Canada all announced on Tuesday sanctions against Russia, promising to deliver more if the situation escalates further. Kuleba told Tapper that "no sanctions will be enough until Russian boots withdraw from Ukrainian soil," and he doesn't believe this first round will be enough to deter Putin.

When asked why Americans should be paying attention to what is happening in his country, Kuleba was quick to respond: "If Putin succeeds in Ukraine, other players across the globe who want to change the rules, who want to bypass the United States, they will see that this is possible, that the West is incapable of defending what it stands for."