Ukraine president: Voting no on referendum is a "yes" vote for Putin

Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko is very hopeful that the Netherlands will vote for the association agreement with Ukraine in the referendum in April next year. He stresses the importance of Dutch people's right to express themselves in a referendum, though he calls the voting "corn on Putin's mill", in an interview with NRC on Thursday.

In the referendum next year, Dutch citizens will vote on the Association Agreement that the European Union closed with Ukraine. The agreement hasn't been ratified by the Netherlands yet. A majority in the Tweede Kamer, lower house of parliament, believes that the outcome of the referendum should be adopted as the Netherlands' stance, if the outcome is valid, the Telegraaf reported on Wednesday. The validity of the outcome is determined by a number of factors, including that a minimum of 30 percent of Dutch citizens should cast their vote.

President Poroshenko issued a cautious warning in the interview with NRC. "Everyone in the Netherlands needs to know that a vote in the referendum is a vote for or against the Ukrainians who gave their lives for European dignity and values", he said. He added that the MH17 disaster improved the relationship between the Netherlands and Ukraine. "You can't arrange it. It just happened. Within three hours there was an ocean of flowers at the embassy in Kiev, from people who had never been in the Netherlands. Pain unities peoples."

The Ukrainian President also commented on the fight against terrorist organization ISIS in Syria and Iraq. He is not concerned that ISIS will shift the Ukraine issue to the background. He compared it to Adolf Hitler's annexation of the Sudetenland. In 1938 Britain and France forced Czechoslovakia to cede Sudetenland to Germany. According to him, people then also said that Sudetenland was not as important. "But ultimately the price of this supposedly peaceful solution was very high, Europe has learned its lesson." He added that he has no objection to Russia joining the coalition fighting against ISIS. "But only if they fight ISIS and ceases to support Assad."