The President of Ukraine is disappointed with the world’s current attitude to the need for continued support to Ukraine – but is in no hurry to talk about the likelihood of Putin’s victory.
by Kyiv Post
January 2, 2024
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is not most annoyed by the lack of results from the Armed Forces of Ukraine at the front, but by the weak position taken by the country’s allies. This was reported in The Economist, which spoke with him on the eve of the new year.
As the journal points out, Zelensky has lost the air of lightness and humor with which he had exhibited on the eve of 2023, when Ukrainians had high hopes for its future counteroffensive. Ukraine’s war has become the subject of negotiations among politicians in the USA on the eve of the presidential elections in 2024, as well as those in Europe. These sentiments also affected society inside the country, which is also feeling war-weary.
Zelensky believes that the West has lost a sense of urgency and many Ukrainians have lost a sense of existential threat. “Maybe we didn’t achieve the [military] success [in 2023] that the world wanted. Maybe not everything is as fast as some imagined it would be,” he says. But he denies Putin has achieved anything that could be considered a victory, given Russia’s failure to capture a single major city in 2023, as well as the massive losses it has suffered in recent months trying to capture the city of Avdiivka in the Donetsk region. “Thousands of Russian soldiers were killed, no one even took them away,” Zelensky emphasizes.
And while the Kremlin is sending its people to their deaths near Avdiivka, Ukraine has succeeded in the Black Sea, breaking through the Russian blockade. Over the past year, several successful special operations have destroyed strategic Russian ships. In September, the headquarters of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, in occupied Sevastopol, was destroyed – once again demonstrating the weakness of the Russian army and its air defense forces.
Thanks to these successes, Ukraine continued transporting grain to countries needing it. “Huge result!” Zelensky confidently asserts. But he went on to add that these successes are not enough in the fight against Russia; the most difficult battles are still ahead. If the world does not unite its efforts in 2024, it will not be easy for Ukraine. Therefore, he no longer gives a time frame when the occupied territories will be liberated, and does not promise that this can happen in this next year.
He does not hide the fact that Ukraine intends to continue to conduct special operations in Crimea. That is why the country’s political leadership is asking Germany for Taurus long-range cruise missiles. This could make it possible to destroy the $4 billion Kerch Bridge and isolate the
Crimean Peninsula from Russia. “Russia has to know that for us this is a military object,” Zelensky emphasized.
A successful operation would be “an example for the world” and would also have a big effect on Russia. Losing the centerpiece of Kremlin propaganda would show that “thousands of Russian officers died only because of Putin’s ambitions.”
Germany seems to be in no hurry to provide the missiles so, therefore, Ukraine will focus even more on producing its own weapons. The President confirmed his view that the weak “mobilization of Ukrainian society and the world” today has a negative effect on the front and “that needs to change,” he says. “Mobilization is not just a matter of soldiers going to the front. It is about all of us. It is the mobilization of all efforts. This is the only way to protect our state and liberate our land. Let’s be honest, we have switched to domestic politics. If we continue to focus on domestic politics, we need to call elections. But forget about counter-offensive actions and liberation,” the president expounds.
Russia is seeking to weaken and undermine both Ukraine’s internal resolve and that of its allies. But Zelensky reminds the world that by helping Ukraine, it is also defending itself: “Giving us money or giving us weapons, you support yourself. You save your children, not just ours.” If Russia is allowed to violate the rights of Ukrainians, “it will violate the rights of the world.” If Ukraine loses, Russian President Vladimir Putin will bring his wars closer to the West. “Putin feels weakness like an animal because he is an animal. He senses blood, he senses his strength. And he will eat you for dinner with all your EU, NATO, freedom, and democracy,” Zelensky warns.