Ukrainian pop star Ruslana tells Putin: Hands-off
"We go to democracy, to future with new rules."
by Michael Hernandez
Ukrainian pop star Ruslana has some choice words for Russian President Vladimir Putin: Ukraine’s future is its own.
“Say thank you very much, dictatorship from Soviet Union, thank you. Now, we kill it. We go to democracy, to future with new rules,” said Ruslana while speaking exclusively to Anadolu Agency at the National Press Club in Washington. She was in the U.S. capital to speak with officials, including Vice President Joe Biden and Congressional leaders.
The 2004 Eurovision contest winner has been one of the leading figures in anti-government protests that led to the ouster of former President Viktor Yanukovych. She said that upcoming national elections, scheduled for May 25, are an opportunity for the Ukrainian people to take control of their future.
“We have election and we have a chance to change a lot of protests in Ukraine very quickly with people power, human power. […] It will be best example to clean everything in Ukraine.”
As military forces, widely believed to be Russian, continue their incursion in Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula, Ruslana called on the people of Crimea to resist nonviolently, and to stand with their countrymen. “Keep peace and unite with Ukraine. It will be safer for Crimea to be with Ukraine than with Russia.”
Asked by AA about a potential referendum on Crimea’s future with Ukraine, she said, “We don’t worry about [a referendum]. People in Crimea are going to be with Ukraine.”
Sergey Askenov, the Chairman of the Crimean Parliament, said that the Crimean region, which is semi-autonomous, will vote on its future with Ukraine March 30 or earlier.
While speaking to assembled journalists, Ruslana called on Europe not to turn its back on Ukraine.
“Ukrainians have shed their blood in order to become a member of the European family of nations,” she said. “Please choose between the money that can come to you from Putin and saving the lives of people, whether you want to get that money, or whether you want to remain clean before God.”
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