In an interview with NBC’s Ann Curry, Ukraine’s Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said he believes Russian President Vladimir Putin’s ultimate goal is to take over control of Ukraine and “recreate a new empire.”
“This is his personal goal,” Yatsenyuk said.
Sporadic shelling and mortar fire continues in eastern Ukraine, with pro-Ukrainian and pro-Russian rebels accusing each other of violating the ceasefire agreed to earlier this month in the Belarus capital Minsk. In spite of the threat of more Western sanctions against Russia – triggered by Moscow’s clear military involvement in Ukraine – a potential war over energy is looming. Ukraine gets most of its energy from Russia, but is heavily in debt to Russia’s vast energy companies. Those companies are now threatening to cut Ukraine’s natural gas supply if Ukraine doesn’t pay up soon.
Yatsenyuk said it would be “very difficult to go through the winter” without gas supplies from Russia.