Vadym Prystayko, the former Ukrainian ambassador to London, has asserted that the United Kingdom is among the countries that could deploy its armed forces to Ukraine in the event of a “catastrophic development of the war.” Prystayko shared this perspective in an interview with “Radio Svoboda.”
Addressing one of Ukraine’s arguments for international assistance, Prystayko commented on President Zelenskyy’s statement: “If you don’t help Ukraine now, your children will sooner or later be fighting with Russia.”
“What President Zelensky is saying now, if we run out of resources, soldiers, and the weaponry you are not supplying us, you will have to decide to help our Armed Forces. There are countries approaching this decision, and Britain is one of them, the first on this list,” he believes.
Prystayko explained that Western states “never admit” to preparing for a scenario, as he put it, “deploying their expeditionary forces on the territory of Ukraine.”
When asked under what conditions this scenario could unfold, Prystayko responded without going into detail: “A catastrophic development of the war… Continuation of the occupation.”
Questioned about the relevance to Britain, Prystayko clarified that Britain does not seek war. He emphasized that no one desires the loss of even a single life. He noted the complexities, stating that “certain aspects are not easily understood.” He touched upon the violation of international law by Russia’s aggression against an independent state, disrupting the established order. The changes brought about by these events pose challenges to the development of nations and hinder the maintenance of open trade routes.
“No democratic state is prepared for action, lest Putin spins a narrative of MI6 or British military intelligence planning an attack on the Kremlin. Democratic nations, beholden to electoral cycles and public opinion, find it immensely challenging to take the first step. This is why values and alliances were devised,” he said.
Previously, the theoretical possibility of foreign states deploying troops to Ukraine was discussed by former NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen. He believed that this option could be part of discussions on “security guarantees” for Kyiv beyond NATO.
During an interview, Prystayko shared insights into the communication he had with British diplomats and intelligence in 2022, stating, “War is imminent, you must prepare, you do not realize how tragic it will be for your people.” He revealed that skepticism prevailed about Ukraine’s survival, recounting how people viewed him with a mix of sympathy and doubt, saying, “…you are all going to die. Russians are coming.” Prystayko emphasized his consistent message that the struggle would be arduous, stating, “It won’t be easy, it won’t be a walk in the park. We will fight to the end.”
Regarding negotiations with Russia in case of Kyiv’s occupation, Prystayko revealed that Britain wasn’t prepared for such discussions. However, he acknowledged their willingness to provide military support, quoting them as saying, “We fought against Nazism; we were the only ones who fought against Nazism. We understand you; you must fight.” He referenced Churchill’s speech, stating, “I don’t promise you anything but tears, blood, sweat, and work. We [Ukrainian officials] don’t usually speak to people like that.”
Discussing notable shifts, Prystayko highlighted NATO’s recognition of cyberspace as a war domain, emphasizing that an attack on NATO’s military computer is akin to an assault on a tank or a ship. He introduced the notion of space as the fifth sphere of responsibility considered by NATO, signaling an evolving strategic landscape. Prystayko acknowledged that Putin comprehends these signals and cautioned that expeditional forces might be deployed if nations fail to address the evolving threats.
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