Ukraine's Yatsenyuk Calls Russia's Putin a Threat to Civilization

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Ukraine's prime minister has a simple message to Russia: "Get out of our land."

Arseniy Yatsenyuk said Tuesday that Russia was not withdrawing heavy weapons from the east of his country — as promised under the terms of a shaky cease-fire — and called Russian President Vladimir Putin a "threat to the entire Western civilization."

"I have a key aspiration, and this is the aspiration of the entire Ukrainian nation: Russians, get out of our land. But they are still in Ukraine; Russian military and boots are still on Ukrainian ground," Yatsenyuk said in an interview with CNBC's Steve Sedgwick.

The U.S. and its allies are considering imposing more sanctions against Russia for allegedly undermining a truce in eastern Ukraine. That cease-fire was the result of marathon talks in Minsk, Belelarus — led by France and Germany between Russia and Ukraine — aimed at stemming the year-long conflict.

Those negotiations culminated with an agreed cease-fire in addition to the withdrawal of heavy weapons, prisoner swaps and local elections in rebel-held areas. Both sides have been accused of violating the truce, and Yatsenyuk told CNBC that "a cease-fire is not in place" and Putin "hasn't executed any deal."

The premier also called the peace talks themselves simply the lesser evil at a time when Ukraine only had "two options on the table, bad and worse."

"It's crystal clear…that Putin cheated and outplayed" not just those at the talks but the entire European Union, Yatsenyuk said.

He stressed that his primary goal was to restore peace to his country and see Russian troops pull back, calling that "doable" with the support of the West.

A convoy of pro-Russian militants takes a break near the eastern Ukrainian city of Starobeshevo on Wednesday.VASILY MAXIMOV / AFP - Getty Images


— Craig Moseley and Cassandra Vinograd