Ukrainian presidential adviser calls for heavier weapons as Russia shifts military focus

“After the rapid withdrawal of the Russians from kyiv and Chernihiv, it is clear that Russia has given priority to another tactic: moving east/south, controlling large occupied territories (not only in the Donetsk regions and Luhansk) and establish a firm foothold there,” Podolyak said on Saturday.

“They have established themselves in the east and the south and are imposing harsh conditions,” Podolyak added. “So we absolutely cannot do without heavy weapons if we want to unblock the east and Kherson and send [back] the Russians as much as possible.”

Last month, the Russian military said the ‘first stage’ of its invasion of Ukraine was complete and that it would withdraw its forces around kyiv and Chernihiv to concentrate on the Donbass region in the east. from the country.

Russia’s announcement of this new phase could partly provide political cover for the Russian military, explaining the heavy setbacks in the battles around kyiv, but Ukrainian officials have also reported increased military activity and shelling in Donbass by Russian forces.

Podolyak alluded to expectations from US and Western officials that Ukraine might need to prepare for partisan warfare in the event of a Russian invasion and the fall of the Ukrainian capital.

“Our partners must finally understand that the ‘Afghanization’ they want and the exhausting long-lasting conflict for Russia will not happen,” Podolyak said, referring to the Kremlin’s bloody nine-year campaign to support the Marxist government in Kabul.

The war, which began when Soviet forces invaded in 1979, left nearly a million Afghans dead and 15,000 Russian soldiers, with another 50,000 injured.

“Afghanization is when there is strong guerrilla resistance across the country which inflicts heavy casualties on the aggressor for many months or even years and thus greatly weakens the power of the army of the occupier,” Podolyak explained.

“Such actions took place during the Soviet Union’s attempt to control Afghanistan: Afghan guerrillas destroyed and weakened the Soviet occupiers for years. As a result, Russia as a whole was weakened.

“Russia will leave all Ukrainian territories except the south and east. And will try to dig in there, put up air defense and significantly reduce the loss of its equipment and personnel,” Podolyak added.

Ambassador of the Russian Federation to the United Kingdom Andrei Kelin during an interview with PA at the official residence of the Russian Ambassador in London on February 21, 2022.
The Ukrainian presidential adviser’s comments came hours after Russia’s ambassador to the UK, Andrei Kelin, said that if Britain delivered long-range artillery weapons and anti-shipping systems to the Ukraine, they would be “legitimate targets” for Russia.

“All arms deliveries are destabilizing, especially those mentioned by (Ben) Wallace (the British Defense Secretary),” Kelin said, according to Russian news agency TASS. “They are exacerbating the situation and making it bloodier.”

“Apparently, these are new, rather high-precision weapons. Of course, they will be legitimate targets for our armed forces if they cross the Ukrainian border.”

“I have a feeling that London’s idea of ​​what is happening militarily in Ukraine is formed based on bravado reports from the Ukrainian Defense Ministry and Ukrainian leadership,” Kelin said.

Russian officials have long complained about deliveries of advanced military weapons to Ukraine from the United States, United Kingdom and other NATO allies, which have supplied anti-tank weapons and man-portable air defences, some of which allowed Ukrainian troops to blunt Russian forces. advances.


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