By Mick Krever, CNN
With surprisingly undiplomatic frankness, Ukrainian Ambassador to the U.N. Yuriy Sergeyev criticized the man who just days ago was President of his country, Viktor Yanukovych.
“The main direction is to be associated with European Union,” Sergeyev told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour from New York. “This is what the previous government and the president tried to [persuade] the population, and they betrayed [them].”
He was referring to the sudden decision by Yanukovych last November to call off a trade deal with the European Union. That move set off months of protests and ultimately the removal of the president.
During the protests, Sergeyev said, Yanukovych was presented as a “pure Christian,” visiting churches and “praying for the people.”
“But as we know now,” Sergeyev said, “he prayed for them but did absolutely different.”
“He thought about only his [wealth]. He collected luxury cars in an amount comparable to Brezhnev,” he said, referring to Leonid Brezhnev, former head of the Soviet Communist Party.
This weekend, Ukrainians were treated to a rare glimpse inside Yanukovych’s abandoned and opulent residence.
“I used to work, and I keep working, for the state and for the people, not for the leaders and the governments,” Sergeyev said.
The said that the country is not nearly as divided as many suggest.
“They don’t want any civil war; people want to be united,” he said. “We are for sure with Europe, but we should have a good neighborhood relations with Russia as well.”
“Now it is not logical to divide Ukraine either to Europe or to Russia.”