Tags: America's Forum | Emerging Threats | Exclusive Interviews | Russia | Ukraine Revolution | Petro Poroshenko | Michael Rubin

Scholar Rubin: New Ukrainian President Is 'No One's Fool'

Tuesday, 27 May 2014 03:47 PM

By Courtney Coren

Newly elected Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, who has vowed to bring the violent pro-Russian movement in Crimea to an end and negotiate with Russian President Vladimir Putin, will "be no one's fool," says American Enterprise Institute scholar Michael Rubin.

"Poroshenko has said that he's willing to sit down and negotiate with Vladimir Putin," Rubin told John Bachman and Francesca Page on "America's Forum" on Newsmax TV. "He still wants to deal with the situation in the breakaway eastern provinces, but he shows that he's going to be no one's fool."

However, Rubin warns that the problem facing Ukraine in the eastern part of the country will take more than "diplomacy" to solve "because the ball is still in Vladimir Putin's hands."

The upside to the Ukrainian billionaire is that "he is very much a Ukrainian nationalist," which is a nice contrast to ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, who "was accused of really selling out to Russian influence," Rubin said Tuesday.

Story continues below video.

Poroshenko won almost 56 percent of the vote in Sunday's election. Ukrainians are rallying behind the chocolate mogul, but polls were closed in the breakaway eastern provinces, which may cast doubts on the legitimacy of the election.

"While people are going to object to his election in some of the eastern provinces, the fact of the matter is that Poroshenko has the moral high ground because after all the Russian thugs in the eastern provinces were too afraid even to let the polling stations open," Rubin said.

"That said, the only hope in this, and I don't really hold out too much hope, is the fact that Vladimir Putin has clearly bit off more than he can chew," he added. "He was assuming that the Ukraine would simply roll over and cry uncle, and they've shown that they are not willing to do that."

However, Rubin explained that it's important to remember that the Ukrainians are dealing with "a dictatorship" when it comes to the Russians and that even if Poroshenko is able to "to negotiate on behalf of the Ukrainians," Rubin doesn't think it will "make that much of a difference if Vladimir Putin is insistent on causing trouble."

"The fact of the matter is, he's not going to give in, and ultimately this is going to be a continuing problem between the European Union, more broadly, and Russia," he added.

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