Oleksandr SHARKOV, colonel general (retired), veteran of SBU’s foreign intelligence department:
“We haven’t lost the Crimea and will keep the peninsula in the near future. After all, we are in the 21st century. Russia is among the guarantors of our national security and territorial integrity, yet it has violated its obligations [under that international treaty]. The other guarantor countries are keenly aware of the fact. They can’t allow the Crimea to be annexed from Ukraine – otherwise the West would demonstrate its weakness and irresponsible attitude, in which case their praised world order would collapse.
“What Russia is doing in the Crimea is proof that Putin has taken a brazen stand. A colleague of mine, I was stunned by his statements during a recent news conference; his concepts sounded primitive. I can hardly believe that our neighboring country that wants to become a superpower is being ruled by this character. It is true that Ukraine was ruled by an ex-con with three terms under the Soviets. We knew that and put up with that, but there is a totally different man over there [i.e., President Vladimir Putin]. I’ve always said that a parking lot manager or police detective can’t make head of state. As for the Crimea, resolving the situation may take time. I want to stress that Russia will never have the Crimea. Also, I say once again that the Russian troops that have invaded the peninsula are kamikaze!”