Many Europeans genuinely support Ukraine, but are afraid of what will happen with Russia, cannot imagine that it will lose, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told in a large interview with RBC.
To them, Kuleba says that the world will not fall apart if Russia does. However, “psychologically they are a bit in the discomfort zone with this issue,” Kuleba tells.
Patriot delivery as a breakthrough
The Ukrainian Foreign Minister says that the recent US decision to supply a Patriot air defense battery to Ukraine was a “psychological breakthrough,” as this sophisticated and expensive weapon is a “symbolic technology.”
Kuleba expects that other weapons that Ukraine seeks will be delivered quicker and easier:
“From the first days, when we started talking to Americans about Patriot, we heard only ‘no.’ And the fact that this happened is more evidence that another taboo has been removed, another wall has fallen.
And I do not think that other topics will be more difficult than Patriot. They will not be realized, maybe all at the same time in one day, but it’s like in a computer game, you open levels one after another.”
He predicts that in 2023, Ukraine will receive western tanks and ATACMS long-range artillery, but “it will also depend on the situation on the battlefield.”
The Patriot delivery decision is especially important since European countries follow the US in matters of supplying weapons to Ukraine.
“No matter what the European allies of the United States in NATO say, they are still guided by the decisions of the United States. It was the same with artillery, when the Americans gave it – they gave it, and it was the same with HIMARS. We will now do the same with Patriot, since the Americans gave them – we will talk with others.”
Russua should be shoved into its borders and locked up
The “sect” of Europeans seeking to offer Putin a way to save face has nearly disappeared as they have understood Putin’s true colors, Kuleba says. However, the “sect of saving Russia’s face” remains.
“It is a marginal sect, but it still exists, through the prism of ‘we still will have to live with them,’ ‘they [Russians] will not disappear’ and so on.”
However, for Kuleba, it is important not to tackle this “sect” but to address a wider circle of people who believe that it is possible to make a liberal, democratic country out of Russia. Russia’s essence will not change no matter the government in Russia, Kuleba tells them.
“Russia is what it is, and our task is not to turn an orc into an elf, but to extinguish its aggression. And to create the conditions under which Russia’s expansion will become impossible. That is, from an aggressive authoritarian country it should devolve into simply an authoritarian, conservative country. They should be shoved into their borders and locked up. Let them live in their autarky, under their tsar-father, but do not attack anyone.”
Goal for 2023: sanctioning Russia’s drone and missile production
There are many things Dmytro Kuleba wants to achieve diplomatically in 2023 — sanctioning Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Kiril and more oligarchs, disconnecting more banks from SWIFT, etc. But among these, sanctioning Russia’s capacity to produce drones and missiles is the first priority.
“We must cut off their oxygen so that they could not manufacture missiles, could not mass- produce attack drones and thus could no longer terrorize the entire territory of Ukraine. It will be a huge relief for us at the front and in the rear if we remove this threat.”