Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says it is now difficult for his government to gather Western support in its confrontation with Russia, which Kiev and its allies accuse of having a hand in the crisis gripping eastern Ukraine.
Addressing the parliament on Tuesday, Poroshenko said “Ukraine will continue to need strong international support in the fight against Russian aggression.”
He added, however, that “securing this support is becoming increasingly difficult for our diplomats due to different objective and subjective factors.”
He also said the internal strength of Europe was being tested by external issues, including the refugee crisis and terrorist assaults.
Poroshenko warned that European political forces willing to compromise with Russia could win in the 2017 elections.
“Over the course of the next year, political forces could come to power as a result of elections in several European countries that may not be extremist, but are inclined to compromise with the Kremlin,” he said.
“Europe still speaks with one voice, but there are also countries where the Russian accent is already too audible,” said Poroshenko.
The comments come as the European Union is divided over the future of economic sanctions imposed on Russia over its alleged role in the crisis in Ukraine.
Many European politicians argue the bans have also had a negative impact on the continent itself.
Tensions between Moscow and Kiev have flared in recent weeks after Russia’s Federal Security Service said that it had thwarted an incursion by the Ukrainian military into Crimea, but two Russians were killed in the incident.
Poroshenko said on Tuesday that Ukraine is now safer compared to a year ago. He said, however, that a full-scale invasion from Russia is likely.
People in Ukraine’s Black Sea peninsula of Crimea voted for rejoining the Russian Federation in a referendum in March 2014. The West branded the move as Moscow’s annexation of the territory.
In April 2014, the government in Kiev launched the first round of its military operations in Ukraine’s eastern regions of Donetsk and Lugansk, which are populated mostly by pro-Russians, to crush anti-government protests there. The operations, however, led to deadly clashes between the two sides.
The crisis in eastern Ukraine has left nearly 9,500 people dead and over 21,000 others injured, according to the United Nations.
Despite ceasefire efforts, sporadic fighting continues to claim more lives.