Ex-President of Ukraine Offers His Services to Mediate with Pro-Russian Rebels

On Friday, Viktor Yanukovich, the Former President of Ukraine offered his services as an intermediary between the government of Ukraine and pro-Russian separatists who control a huge part of the east of the nation.

Yanukovich lives in exile in Russia after leaving Ukraine in 2014 after protests against his rule. He also called on world powers to support the direct discussions between the two sides, an idea that is flatly rejected by Kiev.

Talks on implementing a stalled peace agreement for eastern Ukraine involve the leaders of Ukraine, France, Germany, and Russia, but not the separatists.

Over 10,000 people have already been killed there since 2014, and numerous fatalities are reported on an almost-daily basis.

Yanukovich informed a news conference in Moscow: “I will do everything possible, everything that depends on me to stop the war … to bring the two sides to the negotiating table.”

He said that he planned to offer his help to the United States, the European Union, the United Nations, and Russia in the hope that he would be able to facilitate direct talks.

He said: “The main thing is … to unite (the) Donbass (region) with Ukraine, to maintain the integrity of the Ukrainian state.’

The government of Ukraine is unlikely to welcome the initiative of Yanukovich. He is currently being investigated in absentia in Ukraine on charges of treason, which Yanukovich denies.

Yanukovich also noted on his ties to the embattled former campaign manager of U.S. President Donald Trump, Paul Manafort.

Manafort has been indicted in the United States with lying on his tax returns, conspiring to launder money, and failing to register as a foreign agent for lobbying work for the party of Yanukovich, among some other charges.

Yanukovich said that he had never signed off on payments to Manafort for his work as an adviser to him and his party.

Yanukovich stated: “I did not sign off on any payments for his work and never discussed the subject with him.”