The Challenges Beyond Ukraine's Presidential Vote

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May 16 (Bloomberg) –- In today’s “Global Outlook,” Steven Pifer, former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, discusses the U.S. and U.K. warning Russia of further sanctions ahead of the May 25th election in Ukraine. He speaks with Alix Steel on Bloomberg Television's "Street Smart." (Source: Bloomberg)


Another warning to russia from u.s. and u.k.. they're vowing to punish russia with more sanctions if this may 25 presidental election in ukraine is interrupted.

Action should be taken by the u.s. before the elections.

I think that putin is tempted.

I think he has been tempted all along to push the envelope as far as he can.

I think our response has to be firm.

I have always thought that our response should be before the may 25 election, and it should be a combination of sitting down with mr.

Putin and the europeans and the ukrainians and figuring out how we can meet his legitimate needs.

While we meet the legitimate needs of the ukrainians.

Putin's assurance that russia has no further plans to intervene in ukraine cannot be believed.

Former ambassador to ukraine joins us now.

Do you agree with his assessment?

It would be useful to indicate to the russians some idea of what might happen if the russians do disrupt the election.

The election on may 25 is very important for ukraine, because it gives the chance for the ukrainians to have a president with a new democratic mandate.

They will be doing everything they can to silence the now, not to disrupt the election in going forward.

What is your prediction, what do you think will happen?

I think on may 25, in large parts of the ukraine and western ukraine and until you came, you will see apparently -- and central ukraine, you will see a fairly good process and it is all in a question of donetsk and those types of populations.

Will that be disrupted?

What will it take for ukraine to reach out to these russian separatist in those regions and try to unite the country that is so fractured?

There's a couple of things to bear in mind.

First of all there is a large segment of the population in eastern ukraine you're not represented by the armed separatist.

They may be unhappy with dennis -- with what has been happening, but 75% do not want to leave ukraine.

The challenge is that they have started up his roundtable process that has been launched by the organization for security and cooperation in europe, and that met for the first time on wednesday.

The challenge is to find somebody who's credibly for that appellation in eastern ukraine -- population in east who speaks panoply for that population in eastern ukraine.

Does such a person exist, and will the russian forces allow them to speak?

That is a good question.

You have governors who are appointed, and may have some stature, but i'm not sure that the ukrainians see those people as speaking for them.

With your experience in ukraine, i was curious about the longer-term effects of state corruption and such.

Do you think there could be meaningful change in the country?

My guess is that the acting government now recognizes that there has to be fundamental change.

So that they do not make the changes that the protesters were looking for, if they do not make those changes ukraine is going to be headed into a very difficult situation for years if not decades.

Thank you so much.

We appreciate your perspective.

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