Skip to main content

Ukraine President: The world must choose sides

By Josh Levs and Mick Krever, CNN
updated 8:29 AM EDT, Tue July 22, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says rebels are not separatists
  • In interview with CNN, Poroshenko calls them "terrorists"
  • He compares downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 to 9/11
  • He denies Russian suggestions that a Ukrainian jet may have downed the plane

(CNN) -- In the wake of the attack on Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, "every country, including Russia," must determine whether it is "together with the terrorists or together with the civilized world," Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said Monday.

In an exclusive interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour, Poroshenko said, "Every country and every person, and every leader should find out their own place."

"We know exactly" where a missile was shot that hit the plane Thursday, killing all 298 people aboard, and where the flight crashed, he said. "And all this territory is firmly controlled by Russian-supported terrorists."

Ukraine has "a lot of evidence that these people are supported by Russia, trained by Russia, armed by Russia," he added. "And most of them and their leaders are Russian citizens. That is for sure."

Ukraine: How did we get there?
Ukrainian President compares MH17 to 9/11
Ukraine Pres: No difference with 9/11
Ukraine Pres gets heated over Russia claim

Those armed in eastern Ukraine should not be referred to as "separatists," he insisted. "There are no separatists there. They are terrorists."

The United States should declared them terrorists, he said. Such a designation would trigger a "new legal framework for those who support it" and cooperate "with these terrorists."

Ukraine has suffered "three major international crimes," Poroshenko said.

There is what he called "the terrorist act" on Flight 17 -- which he compared to 9/11 and the 1988 Lockerbie, Scotland, bombing. And the way the bodies have been treated, with their personal belongings taken, is "barbarian style," he said. The third crime is that "terrorists" have tried to destroy evidence, he said.

But the crime scene "is impossible to destroy," Poroshenko said.

"All the shrapnel is dispersed on the territory of about 20 square kilometers (about 8 square miles). This crime, the international crime, is impossible to destroy."

Poroshenko also denied suggestions by Russia that a Ukrainian jet may have downed the plane. "This is an irresponsible and false statement," he insisted.

Moscow has strongly denied involvement in the downing of the jetliner.

Pro-Russian rebels have also denied responsibility.

Remembering the victims

Five unanswered questions about Flight 17

Who are Ukraine's pro-Russia rebels?

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 7:34 AM EDT, Tue September 9, 2014
"There were many scenes that defied logic," writes OSCE spokesman Michael Bociurkiw, who was one of the first international observers to arrive at the site.
updated 6:55 PM EDT, Tue July 29, 2014
During the last four months, the people of Ukraine have been fighting for their freedom, independence and European path in a war started by Russia-backed terrorists and their accomplices.
updated 7:08 AM EDT, Thu July 31, 2014
The road isn't easy -- past shelling and eerie separatist checkpoints. But where it leads is harder still.
updated 2:57 PM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
A nun, an AIDS researcher, an athlete and a family traveling on summer vacation. These were some of the victims aboard MH17.
updated 8:29 AM EDT, Sat July 26, 2014
The mother of two brothers killed in the MH17 plane crash has spoken of her regret at not taking her youngest son's fears over the flight seriously.
updated 2:01 PM EDT, Sun July 27, 2014
A long line of hearses, accompanied by police, carried the remains slowly toward a Dutch military base, where forensic investigators will begin the grim work of identifying them.
updated 2:08 PM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
Seeing the images of the mangled wreckage of an aircraft after a crash is difficult for any flight attendant.
updated 7:04 PM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
The United States and its allies are angrier at Russia now over Ukraine, but will they do anything more about it -- especially Europe?
updated 3:00 AM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
When passengers boarded Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 last week, they couldn't have known they were about to fly over a battlefield.
updated 5:25 AM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
The horrifying crash has put the pro-Russia rebels center stage -- and raised all kinds of questions about who they are, what they want and who's in charge.
updated 11:40 AM EDT, Sun July 20, 2014
Some contend that larger weapons have come into Ukraine from Russia.
updated 1:04 PM EDT, Mon July 21, 2014
Aerial photos show the scale of the crash site and help investigators to answer lingering questions.
ADVERTISEMENT