Former Ukrainian president says this is the only way to beat 'brutal despot' Putin
Annual Direct Line with Vladimir Putin in Moscow - Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during his annual "Direct Line with Vladimir Putin" live call-in show. - -/Kremlin/dpa

On Monday, writing for The Guardian, former Ukrainian President Viktor Yuschenko outlined the only way to defeat Vladimir Putin in his invasion of Ukraine.

"As shocking as these stories are to hear, this is exactly what we should expect from the savage Russian army led by the dictator Vladimir Putin," wrote Yuschenko. "My own history with Putin goes back to 2000, when we were both prime ministers of our respective countries. It was only when I ran to be president of Ukraine in 2004 that he actively campaigned against me. The extreme lengths he was willing to go to in order to get what he wanted became clear. I could not allow this to deter me; after I won, I realised that I needed to try to keep a workable relationship with him as the leader of our neighbour in the east. But the Putin I dealt with then no longer exists. He has since become a completely isolated and brutal despot who cannot stand any opposition."

The only thing that stands a chance of beating Putin, wrote Yuschenko, is "international solidarity" against his war effort. "This is something that really bothers him," he wrote.

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Already, NATO has mostly unified against the threat from Russia, and now multiple countries, including Sweden and Finland, are moving towards joining the alliance, potentially making it even stronger.

"I strongly believe that victory for Ukraine is inevitable. When ordinary Ukrainians give everything up to fight for their freedom and dignity, victory is the only option," concluded Yuschenko. "I cannot wait for the day when this war is finally over and Maksym and his colleagues will be able to open their theatre and stage new plays written by brave and defiant playwrights who will focus not on propaganda, but on their own voices and ideas. Today, we fight for freedom. Tomorrow, we will watch the plays of our authors who won this freedom, defining what it means to be Ukrainian."

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