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tv   HAR Dtalk  BBC News  March 7, 2017 12:30am-1:01am GMT

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imposing a ban on travellers from six mainly muslim countries. now, most of the contentious aspects of the old order have been removed, such as a stated preference for christian refugees. the new order also drops the indefinite ban on syrian refugees, and will be phased in over the next two weeks. a retired police officer in the philippines has admitted to killing nearly 200 people, saying he was part of a "death squad" approved by the man who is now president, rodrigo duterte. and this video is trending on bbc.com: vets in thailand have operated on a green sea—turtle to remove more than 900 coins she'd swallowed that were thrown into her enclosure for good luck. that's all from me now — stay with bbc world news. now it's time for hardtalk on bbc news. welcome to hardtalk.
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i'm stephen sackur. after three years of fighting, 10,000 dead and hundreds of thousands displaced, is it time for ukraine's leaders to acknowledge they are in a war they cannot win? geopolitics, economics, and public sentiment don't seem to be working in kiev‘s favour. my guest was ukraine's prime minister until a year ago. arseniy yatsenyuk described his own premiership as a kamikaze mission. so how does his nation avoid self—destruction? arseniy yatsenyuk, welcome to hardtalk. thanks for having me, stephen.
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seems ukraine's crisis has lurched into a new level of urgency in recent days with a blockade, which has been imposed by people who are actually nominally supportive of ukraine's government, a blockade which is restricting all trade between the eastern breakaway regions and the rest of the country. why is this happening? the reason is very clear. under the minsk deal russians had to launch a full—fledged ceasefire on the ground, to pull back its forces, and to pave the way for the political solution. what's really happening? they are still constantly shelling ukrainian, both military and civilians. the death toll is rising. and people, they want to show their strong will to get ukrainian territory back on the one hand, and on the other hand to attract attention to the ukrainian case. right, well, you say people
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want to show their strong will. what they're actually doing, it seems to me, is an act of self—destruction because in putting this blockade on what they call the blood trade between the kiev government and the breakaway regions, they're in effect killing the ukrainian economy. so, let me split people from the politicians. some politicians try to misuse the situation for their own political games. that's true. yulia tymoshenko, for example. one of the most prominent politicians in your country, a woman that you had dealings with for many, many years. she supports those activists engaged in the blockade. and, as i say, this blockade, if it continues, according to your own prime minister, is going to create an emergency in your country, which he says in the very near term will cost 300,000 jobs in your factories, your manufacturing plants,
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because you won't have coal for your power stations, you won't have steel for your factories. so, the government passed a resolution the day before yesterday which is to impose the restrictions on trade to so—called self—proclaimed republics except humanitarian aid, medicine, and so—called critical import, the stuff that goes to ukraine and outside ukraine in order to extract the coal and in order to supply iron ore to the ukrainian companies. when i was in the government this was practically the similar decision. so we never paid any penny to so—called self—proclaimed republics. all legal entities were registered in ukraine, they pay taxes in ukraine and we paid wages and salaries in ukraine. so, once again going back to the issue you just raised. some politicians want to misuse this and to play on the blood. yeah, what we have, and you're accepting it in your answer really, are massive cracks emerging within that part of ukraine which is loyal to the kiev government, you know? we've got tymoshenko, we've got
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people like mikhail saakashvili, and many other prominent figures who are saying that president poroshenko has got this wrong and the blockade is the only and the right thing to do. so, the uneasy coalition of political forces that's backing the kiev government is breaking down. let me be very blunt. you label them as prominent politicians. i will say that we have a lot of lunatics in our politics too, and they don't care about the country, they don't care about the future, they don't care about the people. they care about their polls. you're calling yulia tymoshenko — right now, her political party is around 20% in the polls, whereas your political party's at 2% in the polls — you're calling her a lunatic, are you? i am calling those who are against my country lu natics, and not only lunatics, even worse.
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i won't use these kind of words. going back to the polls, well, it's not 20%, it's definitely less. but look at the populist movements in the european union. all populists try to gain ground because they talk to the people what the people want to listen to. they will never deliver on their promises. are you worried that populism and nationalism are taking ukrainian politics in a very dangerous direction? well, i am concerned that populists and demagogues, they take over the political stage in the entire world, including they want to take the stage. that raises a more global issue because donald trump is in power in washington. you've just talked about populism. would you acknowledge that donald trump's presidency represents a new and profound problem for you and the people in the governing elite in kiev today? you know what is the difference, for example, between my country and the united states? the us still have very strong democratic institutions. we need some time to build up very strong and durable democratic institutions too. whether i'm concerned
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about the new us administration, after the munich conference which you and i participated in, vice president pence, rex tillerson, general mattis, they were very vocal and they were very strong in their support of ukraine. so, the way i see it they follow the policy of the previous administration. the only question we have, whether they speak for themselves or they speak for president trump. that's a very, very big question. and what we know from president trump, despite his latest state of the union speech and when he committed fully to nato... well, it was perfect. it was perfect. well, fine. well crafted. one set of words from the president of the united states. different sets of words in the last year have included professed admiration for vladimir putin, have included his willingness
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to consider a deal over sanctions with vladimir putin, have also considered his feeling that the people of crimea appear to want to be with russia, not with ukraine. that is the president of the united states that you're going to have to deal with. he has changed his mind. look at his twitter. the last tweet he posted on ukraine was that crimea was illegally annexed by russia. so he recognised that crimea was illegally annexed by the russian federation. this is a good move. the truth is you have no idea what's in mr trump's mind. do you have any kind of idea? no, i do not. but for you that uncertainty is deeply dangerous. ok, i'm going to tell you something but i know who can have the idea, or who can get the ear of the new us president. this is your prime minister. she delivered a perfect speech in philadelphia at gop retreat. she did really great at that joint press conference with the united states president. and after this the us president confirmed his commitment to nato and to the free world. the thing is you have to believe the glass is half full even if it looks to most people like it's rapidly becoming more
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than half empty. you said recently, this was a message that you delivered direct to the united states, europe and western powers. you aren't allowed to lift sanctions, you said, against russia until russia fully implements the minsk ii, that is the peace agreement for the future of ukraine, and until ukraine has taken over control of lu ha nsk, donetsk and crimea. full—stop, period. well, you may say to the west you're not allowed to lift sanctions, but frankly it's not in your gift, is it? look, what's happening, a few months ago i was really concerned that russia could win this fight in terms of lifting sanctions. but as for today, what we see, no one is considering an option to leave the sanctions. sanctions will be in place and this is a big win. well, the thing is you and ukraine appear to indulge in wishful
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thinking time and again. in the last few days we've had president poroshenko saying in public it's time for our people to consider nato membership. he says he wants to put it to a popular referendum. i don't know if you've been talking to members of nato recently but i certainly have. i spoke to the secretary general of nato very recently. the possibility, the prospect of ukraine being invited in to membership right now is simply fantasy. and surely you know it. let me go back to the history. do you remember bucharest meeting of nato, bucharest summit in 2008? ukraine was promised to sign a membership action plan. so, in the end a number of nato member countries refused to support this idea. what happened afterwards? russia invaded georgia. then russia illegally annexed crimea and sent in troops to donetsk and luhansk.
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we paid a huge political price for this kind of decision. going back to our prospective nato membership, we are very pragmatic and realistic and i do understand that we cannot get it in the short term. but in the long term, in case if we modernise our military, if we pass reforms that are needed for the ukrainian military, and we are on track with these, with the support of brits, canadians and americans, if we approximate ukrainian military up to nato standards it's in your interests to have ukraine as a nato member. we are defending your borders and your security. i come back to the phrase wishful thinking. vladimir putin in effect has a veto on ukraine's membership of nato, does he not? vladimir putin in terms of nato and ukrainian sovereignty. so you believe that putin is stronger than the leaders of the free world? i believe in realism and pragmatism.
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you say in ukraine... you're going to lose in this case. ..putin has thousands of russian troops on ukrainian soil. right. that's what you say. you say that russia is pulling the strings behind the so—called secessionist self—governing regions in the east of your country. that's what you say. and do you then really think that nato is going to embrace into membership a country which is riven by that dispute and where moscow, according to you, has troops on its soil? i see that ukrainian military is the only military that deterred russian troops, and this is the fact. i see that ukrainian military is quite strong. and i see that ukrainian people managed to survive and we still have the country and we still have the nation, and i don't care what president putin wants. well, you may not care what president putin wants but the fact is if you look at this conflict from the outside, the man who has the clear strategy, the man who appears to have the leverage and hold the cards right now is vladimir putin. if you build, if you say it
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like this, i would say i am very, not just concerned, it sounds desperate, it sounds that the free world is distracted. it sounds that you don't have the policy, the policy towards your countries, not ukraine. well, look at what you call the free world. look at the european union. they have so many other concerns, frankly, from brexit, which you personally have described as scary. that was a word you used recently. there's also the question about the future of the eurozone, the united states has a new president, and we've discussed the impact that he's already had on geopolitics. there are so many reasons to believe that the west's strategy is not clear, is not coherent, is not sustained in the way that russia's strategy right now appears to be. this is the challenge for the west. in case if this is the challenge this is an opportunity. no doubt that we are living in another world, so let's shape this world.
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let's make the new policy, the stronger one, which is to defend liberties and democracy, which is to defend our every single nation and our countries, which is to defend our values. so let's be specific. we've talked a lot about east ukraine. let's just get into the detail a little bit. i have seen it claimed from sources in kiev that you believe there are currently thousands of russian troops on your soil. yes or no? absolutely. you also seem to believe that arms are flowing across the border from russia into those secessionist areas and that the secessionists in essence have created an army based on russian know—how and russian materiel. no doubt, not secessionists, not russian proxies, but russian military already deployed in crimea, in donetsk and luhansk. you know, all these guerrillas are not capable to build anything. so why do you... but they are capable to get the support from russia. why do you continue to talk about the minsk ii agreement? it's a couple of years old. if this is what is happening today,
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clearly the minsk ii agreement isn't worth the paper it's written on. so why do you continue to insist that, ah yes, the minsk ii agreement has to be the root and the source of a settlement in our country? let me be very frank. minsk did a lot. practically, initially the minsk deal was the ceasefire deal and i pay tribute to the chancellor and to the french president in brokering the deal. so we acted in good faith. we as the state of ukraine, we were whiter than white in implementing the minsk deal. we passed very difficult decisions in the house. the first reading of the ukrainian constitution, an amnesty bill, a bill on special status and the rest of the stuff. so we wanted to show to the entire world that we are ready for the political solution. well, with respect that is not strictly true, is it?
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point 11, as i understand it, of the minsk ii deal states that ukraine must change its constitution to assign the separatist territories a special status. now, those constitutional changes require a two—thirds majority in the ukrainian parliament and there is not a possibility on earth that that is going to happen. there is not any kind of precondition for this. because, look, even though there is no ceasefire on the ground, look at the data. every single day they kill ukrainians. every single day coffins with dead ukrainian soldiers... and every single day your side commits violations too. only in case if they start the shelling. that's precisely what the separatists say about you. here we have a classic conflict. all i'm saying is that in this conversation we've established that right now there is no peace on the ground, the minsk ii isn't worth the paper it's written on, you have profound problems with the coherence, frankly, of your western
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supporters and allies. we don't. it seems to me that everyone is on the same page. really? yes. well, let's not rehearse that argument again but we've discussed the impact of donald trump, we've discussed what's going on in europe. but let's now get to a point that seems to me very important. in ukraine there are significant players who are now saying it is time to compromise. victor pinchuk, one of your leading businessmen in ukraine, a man who is very close to the ukrainian political leadership, he wrote an article in the wall streetjournaljust the other week which said, look, it's time to compromise and we cannot afford to let the issue of crimea get in the way of a settlement, a deal which would save thousands of ukrainian lives. we are on a different side of the aisle. we cannot have any kind of compromise over territorial integrity and sovereignty of my country. the only solution which is on the table is that russia
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is to get out of ukraine. it was russia who started the war, who waged the war against an independent country, who tries to redraw the lines after the second world war, and who posed a threat to ukraine, to you, to nato, and to everyone who stands by the values of democracy and freedom. so you, to use the language of victor pinchuk, are prepared to sacrifice thousands of lives, are you, for this principle, you say? the principle of not acceding to any russian demand, not considering any painful compromise. we are prepared to fight like hell for our country and we are prepared to implement the minsk deal the way it is written. and you're prepared to look in the eye every father and mother of a ukrainian soldier who is gunned down in this war that will continue as long as you say there will be no compromise? they are heroes who are defending their land and our nation. how will this end then? are you telling me that the only end is in a complete military victory for the ukrainian side,
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because frankly on the ground nobody believes that's possible. once again i have to mention that there is a political solution. and it's written in the minsk deal. so tell me the reason why putin doesn't want to execute it. and the reason is very simple. he wants to have a new geopolitical structure of the world. the guy wants to run the world, or at least part of the world. he wants to restore a sphere of influences. he wants to grab ukraine. this is the truth. i said a little while ago that many people believe putin holds the cards and has the leverage right now. one of the reasons people believe that is that the ukrainian government is fundamentally weakened by endemic corruption and poor governance. you have had now three years to try and sort this out. you were the prime minister for a substantial chunk of that time up until last year and all of you in the leadership have signally failed to tackle this problem of corruption. if i may, just to present
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you the facts, no more emotions. so, the biggest corruption was in the energy sector of ukraine. you know that there were a number of corrupted deals between ukrainian state—owned enterprise naftogaz, which is oil and gas company, and russian gazprom. as the prime minister i eliminated all these tarnished and corrupted under—the—table deals. the guy, mr firtash, who is under fbi investigation, so he was eradicated and eliminted from the gas sector. my government took over the assets from ukrainian tycoons. we increased taxes and in this case we hampered the position of ukrainian tycoons. there is no more political representation of ukrainian oligarchs in ukrainian house. so we achieved a lot. did you really believe all that? yes, i do. because the ukrainian people don't. number one, they got rid
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of you and at the time of your resignation after the president said he had no confidence in your government anymore, pretty much a year ago, the ukrainian people had you at 2% approval rating. and many ukrainians looked at the company you personally kept and saw you as part of the problem, certainly not part of the solution. there is another part of this, there is another truth, i would say, or truth as it is. a huge mudslinging campaign was launched against my government by all these tycoons that i already mentioned. it wasn'tjust mud, though, was it? you had some allies, some of your closest friends like mr martynenko, who is now under investigation for accepting a $30 million bribe through a czech company when he was involved with the ukrainian nuclear industry. you kept some pretty dodgy company didn't you? and for the first time in the history of ukrainian house he voluntarily was stripped of the mandate of the member of house.
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and there is ongoing investigation and no indictment in 15 months. we don't know whether he is guilty or not. he denies the charges. but what i put to you is that on a whole host of different examples you and people around you appeared to be far too close to the oligarchs, as you call them, that still are the most prominent players in ukraine's business political elite. for example, mr lutsenko, the head of the president's faction in the parliament said this in april 2016 as you left. he said: the problem with mr yatsenyuk was he couldn't abandon the former practice of consulting the oligarchs before making his decisions. i have to refer to a mudslinging campaign. look, we are frenemies with my president so let me keep silence on this particular issue. but you just mentioned my low approval rating. could you imagine what's going to happen with your government in case if your government is to pass four austerity packages?
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nobody‘s saying it's easy but the bottom line is transparency international today, not two years ago, but today have ukraine at 131, place 131 in the world's most corrupt nations. now, that's at the wrong end of the scale, not the right end. you are, according to them, the worst, most corrupt nation in all of europe. where we succeeded we eliminated this massive corruption. but if you ask me whether corruption exists in my country, yes, it still exists and it exists not only in ukraine. it exists in other parts. and the system and the network have clearly overwhelmed you and overwhelmed the capacity of all other political leaders in your country today to beat it. for that particular reason we established a national anti—corruption agency, national anti—corruption bureau, and the house passed the bill which was introduced by my government, of so—called electronic declarations. i wish your politicians will field the same kind of text disclosure... sorry, asset disclosure declarations as ukrainian high—profile officials.
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what are you worth, as you've had to declare your assets? i started to declare my assets from the year 2001 and you can easily check it online. what are you worth? uh, more or less us$1 million. i was the banker. i was the lawyer. i worked in the private sector for ten years. just a final thought. borisjohnson, the foreign secretary here in the uk, where you're visiting at the moment, he's talked about what worries him, a concept that he calls ukraine fatigue. he claims there are people in europe who are kind of bored and tired with talking about ukraine and its crisis. may be the same in the united states of america. that is going to be a big problem for you, isn't it? well, that's normal. people get tired of unresolved issues. but we can't be tired in fighting for our principles and values. arseniy yatsenyuk, thank you for being on hardtalk.
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thank you. hello. good morning. the start of the week brought a mixture of sunshine and showers but we were very close to some severe and potentially damaging weather. just across the way, in brittany, a gust approaching 120mph. that area of low pressure brought us some rain in the south—west and the channel islands and is running away across europe rapidly to bring more some snow to the alps, take some wet weather across italy and to the adriatic.
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potentially bringing some damaging mistral winds to south—east france and gusty winds into sardinia and corsica. here at home, things very much quiter. the winds quite light, actually, and a lot of the showers that we had earlier on are beginning to fade away. so we will see clearer skies developing and it will be turning into quite a chilly night. ground frost i think in many places and in the country side there may be a pinch of air frost as well. so a chilly start to tuesday morning but a dry and bright one for the most part. the showers along those north sea coasts tending to pull away and instead we look to the west to see increasing amounts of cloud coming our way and eventually some outbreaks of rain and drizzle too. for most of the day, mainland scotland will be dry, but we will keep some showers going across the northern isles, towards lerwick and shetland in particular and we will see the cloud increasing in scotland ahead of this rain that arrives in northern ireland throuigh the afternoon. in northern ireland through the afternoon. it's mostly light and patchy. ahead of it still dry across many central, northern and eastern
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parts of england. a decent enough day. the sunshine turning increasingly hazy as the cloud increases. and we will see some patchy rain coming into wales and the south—west of england as well. no great amounts during daylight hours. through the evening, the rain turning a bit heavier and briefly we could see a bit of snow in the scottish mountains. but the rain across northern parts of the country doesn't last too long. further south, across england and wales, the rain grinds to a halt a bit overnight. that wil keep the temperatures up, leading to some misty weather and some hill fog. clearer skies to the north and ity will be turning a touch chilly. some stronger winds in the far north—west of scotland. perhpas a milder wind blowing across southern parts of england and wales, where we are more likely to keep some drizzly rain going through the day. a lot of cloud across much of wales, south midlands, southern england, so a bit of a damp and dreary sort of day. but decent temperatures. further north though it will be sunnier and watch out for some heavy showers in the north—west later in the day in particular. that weather front is eventually taking that rain and drizzle away from southern—most parts of england
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and then it comes back in again from off the atlantic towards the south—west of england so here we will see some rain arriving on thursday. brighter day for many other areas. a little sunshine and a few blustery old showers across northern parts of scotland. decent temperatures and staying mild and cloudy on friday. i'm rico hizon in singapore. the headlines: president trump signs a revised travel ban against six mainly muslim countries. his team says it will overcome any legal challenge. the department ofjustice believes this executive order, just as the first executive order, is a proper and legal exercise of presidential authority. a retired police officer in the philippines testifies that the country's president duterte approved the killings of nearly 200 people when he was a city mayor. i'm kasia madera in london. china's war on traffic pollution
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as it promises to "make the skies blue again," but is it losing the battle against the smog? and tummy trouble for the turtle who ate hundreds of coins!
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