Belfast Telegraph

Ukraine crisis: Former US president Bill Clinton says Ukrainians have 'right to be free'

Clinton was visiting Northern Ireland on Wednesday

Former US president Bill Clinton has said Ukrainians have a right to be free.

He warned Russia was putting all its eggs in one basket by relying on military might to "cut off the heads" of its neighbours.

And he said citizens of the battle-ground state wanted to fulfil their own destiny.

"We want a Ukraine that is first of all whatever they want, including if they don't want to be in the EU, they have the right to be whoever they want to be, to have an honest government to have a democratic government, to be free," he said.

"They have waited a long time, they deserve it."

He addressed a business audience in Belfast on leadership and emphasised the importance of building networks of co-operation in an inter-dependent world.

He paid tribute to the hundred "brave" people who lost their lives storming government buildings in Kiev.

"They took not one sculpture, they looted nothing, nothing was stolen."

He added: "What they want is to be in the country of their own destiny, to relate to Russia and Europe and to be a bridge between the two, a bridge is an incompatible concept if we believe all geo-politics is zero-sum.

"If I were running Russia I would personally want to have growing reform, growing trade and contact with an ever more prosperous Europe so that I had diversified streams of income and opportunity and I did not put all my eggs in being able to put them on their knees by cutting off their heads."

Further reading

Ukraine crisis: Russia Today news anchor Abby Martin speaks out against 'Russian intervention'

Bill Clinton visit: Former US President urges Northern Ireland to 'finish the job' on dealing with past

Finish the job on peace - Clinton 

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