The West’s attempts to persuade Ukraine to negotiate with Moscow, after a series of major military victories in Kyiv, are “bizarre” and amount to asking for its capitulation, a key adviser to the Ukrainian presidency told AFP. .
“When you have the initiative on the battlefield, it’s kind of weird to get proposals like, ‘anyway, you can’t do everything by military means, you have to negotiate,'” said adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Mykhaylo Podolyak.
This would mean that the country “which recovers its territories, must capitulate to the country which loses”, he added, during an interview with AFP in his office in the presidential building in Kyiv.
US media recently reported that some senior officials were beginning to encourage Ukraine to consider talks, which Zelensky has so far rejected without a prior withdrawal of Russian forces from all Ukrainian territory.
“There must be a mutual recognition that military victory is probably, in the real sense of the word, perhaps unattainable by military means,” US General Mark Milley said earlier this month, saying there is “a window of opportunity for negotiation”. “
According to Podolyak, Moscow made “no direct proposals” to Kyiv for peace talks, preferring to pass them on through intermediaries and even raising the possibility of a ceasefire.
Negotiating “makes no sense”
Kyiv sees these remarks as simple maneuvers by the Kremlin to gain some respite on the ground and prepare for a new offensive.
“Russia does not want negotiations. Russia conducts a communication campaign called ‘negotiations’,” said the Ukrainian presidential adviser.
“He will simply buy time. In the meantime, he will train his mobilized forces, find additional weapons” and fortify his positions,” he warned.
Despite After Russia’s heavy military defeats in recent weeks, including Ukraine recapturing the key southern city of Kherson, President Vladimir Putin still believes “he can destroy Ukraine, that’s his obsession” and negotiating with him “makes no sense,” Podolyak argued.
The West cannot pressure Ukraine to negotiate, he insisted.
“Our partners still believe that it is possible to return to the pre-war era when Russia is a reliable partner.”
After massive Russian withdrawals from the Kyiv region in March and then from the Kharkiv region in the northeast in September, the liberation of Kherson this month marked a “fundamental” turning point in the conflict, according to Podolyak.
Strengthened by its string of military victories, Ukraine cannot “afford any pause” in its counter-offensive, despite the arrival of winter cold and snow which complicate the situation on the ground.
“Today, even a small break only adds to Ukraine’s losses,” the official said.
Longer range missiles
Moscow has been bombarding the country’s energy infrastructure for weeks, plunging millions of homes into darkness.
The regions of Zaporizhzhia in southern Ukraine and Lugansk in the east are now the army’s “key directions”, Podolyak said, while refusing to speculate on the possibility of a military operation to resume the Crimean peninsula, which Moscow annexed in 2014.
Ukrainian authorities are calling for an increase in Western arms deliveries, which is “very important” in winter, he added.
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak used his first visit to Kyiv on Saturday to propose a major new air defense package, including 125 anti-aircraft guns.
“We still need 150 to 200 tanks, about 300 armored vehicles”, about a hundred artillery systems, 50 to 70 multiple rocket launcher systems, including the formidable American HIMARS, of which Ukraine already has several units, as well than “10 to 15 anti-missiles”. -air defense systems to shut down the skies,” Podolyak said.
He also cited the US ATACMS missiles, which have a range of 300 kilometers (185 miles). The range of weapons currently available to Ukraine is just over 80 kilometers.
For Podolyak, such missiles would “bring the end of the war closer” by allowing Ukraine to “destroy large Russian military depots” located deep in occupied and currently inaccessible areas.
Kyiv ‘does not need’ to attack military targets inside Russia, said the adviser.
“The war will end when we regain control of our borders and when Russia is afraid of Ukraine.”