Petro Poroschenko: «Erdogan knows how to press the Tsar. He can negotiate for peace “

from Francesco Battistini, sent to Kiev

The former president of Ukraine, after putting aside his grudges towards Zelensky, the day after the Russian invasion set up a battalion to defend the country


Mr. Poroshenko, in the Donbass you have exchanged many prisoners of war with Putin …

“Under my presidency, more than 4,000 prisoners. In these seven months, less than 500 ”.

Different situations?

“Everything changed. But there is one thing in common: Erdogan’s role. It was he who reached an agreement for the Crimean Tatars. And even then, there was a first direct negotiation between Putin and Erdogan. Now the script has been repeated at the summit in Samarkand ».

Erdogan had already mediated to unblock the grain, now here are the hostages …

«He has the tools to put pressure on Putin: many Russians have interests in Turkey, but at the same time Erdogan has never recognized the annexation of Crimea to Russia. He can be a negotiator in this war ».

To many, he doesn’t seem very different from Putin.

“I know an Erdogan who supported us by giving us Bayraktar drones. Of course, there are several criteria for evaluating a democracy. But here we are talking about security and Erdogan is our partner ».

Everything has changed in the life of Petro Poroshenko. The former president of Ukraine is more tried: the day after the invasion, he abandoned his business, his grudges for Zelensky and set up his own battalion (“I spent almost a hundred million euros”). He has just returned from the southern front: «This has always been a war unlike any other. Nothing to do with Syria, Iraq or Afghanistan. Never seen so many weapons all together… ».

Isn’t it strange that Putin just released Azov’s soldiers?

«In the face of all Putin’s propaganda, nothing is impossible. Erdogan knows this too. I have had to deal with Putin and I can say three things. First, never trust him, because he lies about everything. Second, don’t be afraid of it. Third, remember that Putin only understands the language of force ».

What will happen after today’s referendums?

“There is no referendum. There is a show to try to legitimize an occupation. A farce. No Ukrainians will go to vote. What will Moscow do with this farce? Nothing. It is as if tomorrow he declares that Sicily or Naples are Russia. Nothing would change ».

The referendum in Crimea, in 2014, was called by Putin on the same day you were elected president …

«Back then, Putin took a little over three weeks. Here he surpassed himself: three days! When, in a normal democracy, it would take three years ”.

Is something changing in Moscow?

«The most delicate thing is mobilization. Putin says he lost 6,000 soldiers? So what need does he have to mobilize 300,000 reservists? Among the dead, wounded and missing, he has lost at least 150,000 men. Even the two thousand protesters arrested in Russia: similar numbers have not been seen for years. They are signs of a destabilization ».

In Samarkand we saw isolation …

“He was counting on China and India to understand and support him. He wanted to create an anti-American and anti-Western coalition. In commerce, technology, weapons, finance. Instead he got zero ».

One day it will be necessary to negotiate an end to this war. Is Zelensky the right person?

“Don’t think there are no negotiations now. There are and they are intense. Underground, lateral. Military intelligence, and other subjects. But remember: Putin only understands strength. The only negotiation for now is the armed forces. And Zelensky is part of it, because he is now a soldier ».

The popular favor he enjoys is absolute.
“We are united. When the war is over, there will be new elections, Zelensky will be a candidate, I will be the leader of the opposition and there will be the normal competition of the democratic forces. But this is after we have won the war ».

In 2015 you signed the Minsk negotiations with Putin: was it a mistake?

“Do you know why there is a global pro-Ukraine coalition today? Because we went through Minsk. My greatest achievement is Putin’s signature on that document: today it proves who it is who does not keep his word. Before Minsk, even in Italy you called this situation “civil war”. After Minsk, and the invasion, we all call it ‘war’ and that’s it. And this is Putin’s great failure ».

September 23, 2022 (change September 23, 2022 | 00:50)

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Petro Poroschenko: «Erdogan knows how to press the Tsar. He can negotiate for peace ”

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