‘Don’t trust Putin’ Ukraine’s ex president rings alarm bells over Russia soldiers pledge

Putin ‘deserves to be beaten in his face’ says Ukrainian MP

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Vladimir Putin has shown he is not a reliable partner and should not be trusted in the talks to exchange Ukrainian soldiers and Russian prisoners of war, warned Ukraine’s former President Petro Poroshenko. Because of his five-year experience in power and the negotiations he held with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, Mr Poroshenko called on the world to be careful when it comes to negotiating with him. Speaking to France 24, Mr Poroshenko warned: “I have an experience of 5 years of negotiation with Putin from 2014 to 2019.

“And again, my recommendation: don’t trust Putin. Never, ever.

“Putin promised me to release soldiers.

“Because I want to remind you that we withdrew 2,000 Ukrainian civilians and Ukrainian soldiers (from Russian-controlled territories).

“And I know what that means.

“And with this situation, the world should be united.”

Mr Poroshenko’s call comes as close to 1,000 Ukrainian soldiers have handed themselves over to Russian forces after weeks of intense fighting in the Azovstal steelworks of Mariupol, the Russian defence ministry claimed. 

He added: “And remember the soldiers in Azovstal in Mariupol are fighting for our freedom, fighting for democracy, fighting to throw Russia back to the internally recognised border of the Russian federation.

“And with that situation, definitely, you are absolutely right: the discussion we had yesterday with the Russian Duma and the Russian Parliament that they will torture Ukrainian heroes.”

Ukraine is holding talks with Russia to swap Ukrainian soldiers with Russian prisoners of war.

In a nightly address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky insisted “Ukraine needs Ukrainian heroes alive”.

Former President Poroshenko continued: “This is exactly the way of thinking of Putin, of crazy and maniac Russian parliamentarians who initiate yesterday this dangerous proposition.”

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When asked whether he was worried about the fate of the Azovstal soldiers being sent to Russian-controlled areas, Mr Poroshenko said: “Definitely.

“First of all, Mariupol soldiers are a symbol of bravery.

“It’s the symbol of heroism not only for Ukraine but for the whole free world.

“Can you imagine that 83 days without food, without ammunition, without water, they keep fighting tired against 20,000 Russian troops?”

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