There were 17 minutes of maintenance, the time previously stipulated for weeks with the communication team of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine. Its owner, Dmytro Kuleba, is Volodomir Zelensky’s right-hand man and this is the first time he has given an interview to a Latin American media.
With a wardrobe similar to the President’s, the Chancellor was quick to comment. He accused Russia of committing war crimes and said it “will answer for them” “before international tribunals”.
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In addition to asking the international community “don’t stop your support until you stop Putin“, compared this invasion to the Second World War and launched that “as much as Russia says that Ukraine is neo-Nazi, as much the neo-Nazis are them”.
– What is the current state of negotiations with the Russian Federation?
– While the Russian offensive in the Donbass is underway Russia leaves very little room for negotiations. However, we remain open to continuing our discussions and videoconferences at expert level from both delegations. Currently, they are held every other day, but they discuss minor details, not big discussions. Just as Russia carries out a full-scale offensive in the Donbass or hits kyiv like yesterday, I’m sure you’ll agree with me that this is not the way to create a good environment for the negotiations.
– What is the main issue of the negotiation in the Donbass? Are they negotiating peace or also the withdrawal of Russian troops?
– It goes without saying that Russian troops must leave Ukrainian territory. It’s not even a point of negotiation, it’s one of the starting points of the Ukrainian position.
– Where are the negotiations going then?
– In principle, the talks focus, first, on the end of the war and the conditions to be met for the withdrawal of Russian forces. And second, what will be the future of relations between Ukraine and Russia? Of course, Russia has its own requirements. We have our own vision and our proposals. The difference is that Russia approaches these talks with ultimatums, while insisting that we will only accept mutually acceptable solutions.
– What conditions must change in order to negotiate?
– Back then when Russia changes its tune and stops issuing ultimatums to provide mutually acceptable solutions, there will be a more friendly environment to find a solution.
Killings of civilians, “the darkest page”
– What are the conclusions of the Ukrainian government regarding the war crimes committed on Ukrainian territory?
– Russian atrocities committed in Ukraine since the beginning of the war are the darkest page of this conflict. We are losing soldiers every day. We are losing civilians every day. Every day. The Russian army destroys houses, sometimes entire villages. This pain is incomparable to the suffering we have gone through.
– Can you give us an estimate of civilian and military losses?
– Only around kyiv, in nearby towns and villages, we find 1,085 bodies of civilians deliberately tortured and killed. We learned what the word “mass grave” means because the Russians put the civilians they had killed in mass graves. Many were found with their hands tied behind their backs and shot in the head. It’s no accident it’s a deliberate murder. And I don’t want to mention all the cases of rape of women and girls that also happened in these areas.
– What is the situation in Mariupol?
– It’s a city we don’t have access to, a city that was 95% destroyed. Before the war, it was a city of 500,000 inhabitants. It is unimaginable to even estimate how many civilians were killed, tortured or raped in this city by the Russian army. We document all these cases. We are cooperating with international authorities, the International Criminal Court, to investigate and prosecute these cases in this regard.
– Regardless of the outcome of the war, do you think Putin will be prosecuted for these crimes?
– Ukraine wants to establish a special ad hoc tribunal to prosecute the crime of aggression committed by the Russian leadership. The International Criminal Court is not competent to judge the crime of aggression. Other crimes – war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide – will be tried by the International Criminal Court. I have no doubt that in the endl We will hold accountable not only perpetrators, such as soldiers and officers, but also to their commanders and those who gave them their orders. They must take responsibility for plunging the world into the nightmare of World War II.
– Do you have the impression that the world, and in particular certain countries in Europe, are not strict enough with the Russian Federation?
– If Russia crosses all red lines and violates all rules of international behavior, then the world should react in the same way. So far, the response has been much stronger compared to 2014, with Crimea. We appreciate all gestures but of course as long as the war continues these efforts will not be enough. We do not complain because we see that many measures are taken, but it must not stop until we stop Putin. Ukraine’s victory will also be the victory of the entire international community.
Putin’s strategy and the value of resistance
– According to you, what are the main objectives of Putin currently in Ukraine and Moldova? Looking to go east and south?
– Well, you may remember that Putin’s original plan was to capture kyiv in at least three days, and then he expected all of Ukraine to fall to its knees. This plan failed. But Russia never admits its failure, it is a victorious nation that always wins. Even if he loses and folds, they still present it as his victory. When you listen to what President Putin says and what those around him say, they want to defeat all of Ukraine because they don’t recognize our right to exist. They behave like imperialists, like an empire that denies another nation’s right to exist.
– Do you think that Russia is trying to go beyond Ukraine?
– They desperately want to win in Ukraine, to sow fear in Europe and the world about their power and their will to conquer, defeat and put pressure on other countries of the world. These are Putin’s two ultimate goals. He assures them that he won’t achieve anything because of Ukrainian resistance and his ability to fight and defeat Russia.
– Is the Ukrainian resistance ready for a war that can last for months or even years?
– We have no choice. This war will last until Ukraine wins. As simple as that, whatever it takes. If Ukraine loses, there will be no Ukraine. It’s that simple. And so we will fight. All civilized nations of the world must understand that Ukraine is fighting for the right path. This is unprovoked aggression by Russia, which is a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council and whose role is to safeguard peace and security, but it cannot be trusted. .
– So the objective is the absolute withdrawal of Russian troops from all Ukrainian territory?
– Absolutely. We are in a state of open war with an aggressor, with a country that moved its forces to Ukraine. Now we categorically insist that the Russian army withdraw to the positions it occupied before February 24. Then there are two other problems. The first is the Russian presence in the so-called people’s republics of Donetsk and Lugansk, added to the occupation in Crimea. We are committed to finding a peaceful solution. But as my president has said many times, we are not going to cede an inch of our territory.
Political, economic and legal reprisals
– Are reprisals on Russian territory absolutely out of Ukraine’s plans?
– We are not aggressors like Russia. We are not conquering other territories. We want to keep what we have, with our land. we will fight back. Politically, to isolate Russia in the global arena; economically, imposing more and more sanctions so that their war machine is deprived of the influx of money; and legally, prosecute Russian war criminals for all atrocities committed in Ukraine.
– Were you surprised that the Russian regime accused the Ukrainian government of belonging to a Nazi ideology?
– Russian propaganda has been building this image for years. It is true that millions of Russians believe that their army went to Ukraine to find and destroy neo-Nazis. The problem is that they are nowhere to be found, neither neo-Nazis nor neo-fascists. There are not any. This is Russia behaving exactly as the Nazi army did in World War II. So they don’t call it that, but it’s Russia behaving like a neo-Nazi.
– Do you have anything else to say?
– My last comment on this subject is very simple. You can call us any way. But not since 2014, when the Dignity Revolution prevailed in Ukraine, has a far-right party reached parliament. This phenomenon is absent at the national level. We do not have, unlike some Western European countries, a dominant far-right ideology. My president is Jewish, of Jewish origin. So how can you have a neo-Nazi country with a president of Jewish origin?