CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: Yulia Tymoshenko, welcome to the program, thanks for joining me today in the midst of this very, very severe crisis.
YULIA TYMOSHENKO (through translator): Yes, I'm happy to hear you and very happy to participate in your program.
AMANPOUR: Let me ask you first Ms. Tymoshenko, you know diplomacy is going into overdrive, Secretary Kerry is on his way to Kiev, your acting Prime Minister Mr. Yatsenyuk has said Ukraine will never get rid of Crimea, it will hang onto Crimea, and the Russians are saying that their troops will stay in Crimea until this solution happens, or until this crisis is resolved. What is going to be the next move?
TYMOSHENKO: The next move of Russians is known today – literally several minutes ago, the Russian Duma has started listening to the draft of the law of annexation of Crimea from Ukraine, so it’s only a question of time when it will be voted. We all know that votes in Duma will be found. That's why Russia is escalating the crisis now and the world should realise that Ukraine on its own won't be able to solve this issue with Russia on its own, it’s absolutely not possible, and only the world at the highest level using the highest possible means can stop this unprecedented – for our times – aggression.
AMANPOUR: What are you expecting from the world Ms. Tymoshenko? You say that the Russian parliament is now discussing annexing Crimea. What do you expect from the world who have already said there is no military solution to help Ukraine.
TYMOSHENKO: We all well remember that when Budapest Memorandum was signed and when Ukraine was giving up its nuclear weapons then the United States, the United Kingdom and Russia were providing guarantees of peace and independence, integrity of its territory. And now when the crisis is happening Ukraine is relying on its partners, and if Russia in such a cynical and rude way violated this memorandum then every person in Ukraine believes that the United States and the United Kingdom will stick to their guarantees and now it's up to the world to find out the mechanisms which are better to be applied here.
But if it is in hard times, Ukraine is left on its own and is given to – and it – when Russia is allowed to take away Crimea, then the world will change and then not only politics and life in Ukraine will change. The politics and life will change practically everywhere in the world, and then we have to accept to states that in 21st century, one country, an aggressor can violate all the international agreements, take away territories whenever she likes. We can't afford this in the world. That's why if the instruments of diplomacy won't work, if all the negotiations or instruments won't work and personal relations with Mr. Putin won't work, the world has to apply strongest means. If Ukraine loses Crimea, it will be a signal for all people who are under threat of aggression from Russia. They will signal that they are not protected and they will have to go and subordinate to Russia.
I don't believe that the United Kingdom and the United States and also the European Union as a whole will do this to Ukraine. And that's please do your consultations and choose adequate instruments in order to – not to allow the tragedy to happen on the territory of Ukraine.
AMANPOUR: Ms. Tymoshenko, you sound like you're raising the stakes and you are calling for the West, the United States, Britain, Europe, to use military force against Russia. Am I reading you correctly? Is that what you're calling for?
TYMOSHENKO: I believe that it's best of all for those countries who provided guarantees to Ukraine to choose methods how to provide this, how to implement these guarantees. I cannot solve this issue. I cannot – I have no authority to solve this issue. And I believe the world will find the solution.
As far as the strength, using force is concerned, I would like to remind you that in Crimea, the Russian Federation is using force to full extent. And I don't believe it's allowed to act in this following way, even to the super powers as Russia.
I am asking all the world personally, every world leader, to use all the possibilities in order to avoid Ukraine losing Crimea. And I would like also to add to my mind, I believe this strategy of limitation has worked well. If I believed it's force against force and the force which protects the rightness, an aggressor could be stopped. It's possible not to use any weapons. But these things need to be done.
And also I believe some other steps, which are necessary to be done, I believe that this is time now to sign, immediately sign an agreement, an association agreement between Ukraine and the European Union. Today, all powers in Ukraine, the parliament, the government, practically all people of Ukraine are voting for the association to be signed. And the – for the Ukrainian people who gave lives for the united Europe, this is a first time in Europe when the Ukrainians gave their lives to be part of Europe. And when we're told no, that they are not ready to sign this agreement, then Ukraine doesn't really understand this kind of attitude.
And in addition to that, we clearly feel that if Ukraine had been a part of NATO at that moment, most likely then Russia wouldn’t risk in such cynical way to attack a territory of a European state. Then –
AMANPOUR: Ms. Tymoshenko?
TYMOSHENKO (through translator): - (INAUDIBLE) you need to use them. But if we lose time, even strongest instrument won’t be able to be used. And the time factor is very important here.
AMANPOUR: Time is very, very important, as you say, Ms. Tymoshenko. Secretary Kerry is coming to Kiev and he'll meet with you and other leaders there. They are trying to persuade Ukraine to keep its cool; in other words, not to give any pretext to Russia for a full-scale intervention or even to go beyond Crimea.
Is Ukraine thinking of any military response, its own military response to the Russians?
TYMOSHENKO: In no way we can repeat the – a phase of a policy and a settee (ph). We’re perfectly aware of the balance of forces of Russia and Ukraine. And I shouldn't comment it. We cannot put people to death at the time when the super powers will be watching it. And me, as a person also responsible here, yesterday I addressed the Ukrainian, the population urbane (ph) to keep calm and not to react to any aggression because every response to Russian aggression will be used by the aggressor, just to destroy Ukraine.
There's a critical situation. And as you can understand, it doesn't only concern only Ukraine, but also stability worldwide. That's why this crisis should be solved not on the level of just Ukraine and Russia. It will be irresponsible. The solution will be found – should be found at the level of super powers, the strongest powers in the world.
AMANPOUR: The Russians say that the ethnic Russians in Crimea…
TYMOSHENKO: The waste of time will result in complete destabilization.
AMANPOUR: The Russians are calling for a government of national unity in Ukraine. So also are your Western friends. They want to see you reach out and persuade the ethnic Russians in Crimea and elsewhere that their rights will be respected and that the new Ukrainian government is a government for all Ukrainians.
Can you reach out to those Russians who are being told that your new government does not like them and is anti-them to make sure that they feel part of the new Ukraine?
TYMOSHENKO: Well, first of all, we, all of us, should perfectly realize what kind of ultimatum is voiced by Russia. The ultimatum is that they might stop the aggression if we return a corrupted, blood-stained maw (ph) of Mr. Yanukovych, which all his team return him to power, and then possibly Russia will look into stopping the aggression.
For Ukraine, this option of ultimatum is not acceptable. All Ukraine is against it. All Ukraine will not support it.
As far as those living in Crimea and Eastern regions, it's clear – clearly seen that when the Kremlin and all its special forces on the territory of Ukraine call people in Crimea and Eastern part of Ukraine to go to squares and support separating Eastern parts of Ukraine and Crimea, then people, those – even those living in Eastern parts of Ukraine and Crimea, they don't go to these kind of meetings. These latest meeting held in Sebastopol, only several hundred people came, gathered there.
So that's why one doesn’t need to persuade anyone. All Ukrainian people is uniquely united, both east, west; they're united. They don't want war. They want stability and peace and they're against the aggression.
Today, people in Crimea, literally, every minute, call to Russia not to let them down and not to start a war in Crimea. You should understand that now every Ukrainian, including those living in Crimea, look up to Western countries and expect that Ukraine will be – will be protected by – according to agreements signed. That's why don't leave Ukrainian people on its own with – against an aggressive, cynical Kremlin, I just beg you, those who hear me now.
AMANPOUR: Are you saying that you would not consider going back to the February 21st agreements which the Russians are suggesting, which left President Yanukovych in power until the end of this year with new elections and also obviously rewrote the constitution, limiting presidential power?
Is that acceptable or not acceptable to you?
TYMOSHENKO: I've already mentioned that this is not a simple, signed agreement. What Russia is asking and demanding as an ultimatum for the Ukranian people to accept returning Mr. Yanukovych, a person who is responsible for death of people, of killing people and they demand for Mr. Yanukovych to be returned and for him to govern, legitimately govern until who knows elections of president.
This is literally returning of dictatorship to Ukraine. This is not what Ukrainians gave their lives and they were fighting for months in the street so that to – according to Russian ultimatum, to bring back dictatorship to Ukraine, bloody dictatorship.
And I believe that responsibility should be put now not on the shoulders of the Ukrainians, who honestly gave up their nuclear weapons and were left absolutely defenseless in front of their northern neighbour, but rather today, responsibility will be - should be put on those countries who were persuading Ukraine to give up nuclear weapons and guaranteed its territorial integrity, peace and – but today's responsibility on those countries, rather.
And I beg you, once again, to find a solution, which would install peace again in Ukraine and will keep Crimea as an integral part of Ukraine.
AMANPOUR: Let me ask about your own personal ambitions and how the new Ukrainian authorities and the process is going to play out. Will you run for president?
TYMOSHENKO: You know, to have an answer to this question you should be in Ukraine now. You should realize that now we don't think anything about anything else, not about elections or campaigning. Today, every day, every minute, we live with one thing: we're losing Ukraine. Nobody is talking politics here. Nobody talks about elections here. All the channels, all TV channels, around the clock, we have broadcast, live broadcasts of those events happening in Crimea and the other regions. That's why I'm saying that in Ukraine, we're just one step which divides us from war. And that's why talking about elections, I don't think it's not up to the moment, sorry.
AMANPOUR: Then let me ask you about the order for Ukrainian people to report for military training. We're told that that is what your interim authorities have done, that there is a call up for males to start training for a period of 10 days.
If you think that Ukraine cannot face off with Russia militarily, why is this happening? And for what purpose?
TYMOSHENKO: I'm sorry; it's very simple. If the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union will leave us on our own in this difficult situation and if the aggression will come to the extent that to the Crimea will be annexed, those men who came to mobilization – those men will just go and die for Ukraine. You should understand that. And they will give their lives; that's why they're being mobilized now. And that's why I've asked the world not to allow bloodshed in Ukraine.
AMANPOUR: Yulia Tymoshenko, thank you for joining me at this very, very difficult moment.
TYMOSHENKO: Thank you very much. And I apologize for the tension. It's very difficult here in Ukraine and we all live with – think about its future, keeping territorial integrity. And that's why I'm very grateful to you to be provided – for being provided this opportunity to address the world. Thank you.
AMANPOUR: Thank you. We'll keep watching.