President of Ukraine

The key strategic security goal of Ukraine and Europe is to prevent Russia from striking again – Mykhailo Podolyak in an interview with Rzeczpospolita

5 June 2023 - 20:37

To ensure the security of Ukraine and the whole of Europe, the world must unite and take steps to make Russia unable to strike again. A pause in the current war is unacceptable, as it may allow the aggressor to prepare, recover and start the war again. This was stated by Mykhailo Podolyak, Advisor to the Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, in an interview with the Polish daily Rzeczpospolita.

"The key strategic security goal for Ukraine and for the whole of Europe is to prevent Russia from striking again. First, Russia must be completely defeated, and Ukraine must return to its 1991 borders," he said.

The second condition is the transformation of the Russian political elite, because without it, the war will never end.

"If the current regime in Russia survives, they will take an operational pause for a while and learn from their mistakes. As a result, we will get a much more aggressive state, better prepared for the next stage of the war, which will be waged not only in Ukraine. It is about a number of other countries. Moscow sees Poland as one of its key adversaries because it does not give up and supports Ukraine," the Advisor to the Head of the Presidential Office noted.

In addition, as Mykhailo Podolyak emphasized, it is necessary to ensure that Russia won’t be obsessed with revanchism in the future.

"The Russian economy will have to take into account the payment of war reparations to Ukraine over the next 50 years. It is also necessary to completely limit their military potential and impose severe restrictions on the Russian military industry. Russia's possession of long-range missiles should be limited, and it should not be left with a nuclear arsenal," the Advisor to the Head of the Presidential Office emphasized.

He expressed his belief that Russian President Vladimir Putin and his regime will not listen to any arguments and will not abandon their plans to destroy Ukraine, and any contacts with him legitimize the crimes he commits.

At the same time, Mykhailo Podolyak noted that Ukraine does not intend to interfere in the internal political affairs of the Russian Federation and enter Russian territory. In his opinion, changes in Russia should occur as a natural reaction of Russian society to the outcome of this war.

The Advisor to the Head of the Presidential Office reminded that the Legion "Freedom of Russia" and the "Russian Volunteer Corps", which are fighting on the side of Ukraine and have already crossed the Russian border several times, include only Russian citizens.

"What is happening in Russia is an interesting phenomenon. The Kremlin demonstrates that it has no control over the internal space at all. They insisted that they had everything under control. But it is already clear that the Russian authorities cannot respond effectively to new challenges," he said.

Mykhailo Podolyak noted that Russia is very fragile and can be destroyed by the actions of dozens of active groups. According to him, there are people in Russia who want to fight Putin not by participating in peaceful protests and waving ribbons, but, for example, by striking at critical infrastructure.

According to him, after about three to six months of full-scale war, Ukraine realized that Russia is poorly governed, corrupt, and fragile. It can be attacked from within, because despite its powerful propaganda, Russian counterintelligence is not coping with its tasks.

"Russia is one big Potemkin village. They stole their own country. And the Kremlin propaganda claimed that it was a powerful state with a strong military industry, a formidable army and well-organized services. Ukraine has destroyed this myth. There is a lot of chaos there. The events in Belgorod, Kursk, Rostov and Bryansk oblasts show that local authorities do not control the situation there," said Mykhailo Podolyak.

When asked whether the Ukrainian counteroffensive is already underway, the Advisor to the Head of the Presidential Office said that preparations for it are underway and resources are being accumulated.

"The shelling of Russian logistics bases in the occupied territories of Ukraine is intensifying. This is called preparing the battlefield," he added.

Mykhailo Podolyak noted that Ukraine wants to receive F-16 fighter jets as soon as possible to strengthen its defense. To this end, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has created an informal coalition that includes the leaders of partner countries.

"The President has convinced them that we will not close our skies without F-16s. Political decisions on the supply of F-16s have already been made and they will be delivered to Ukraine. About 10-12 countries have declared their participation. Logistics issues are currently being coordinated, we need about 40-60 units. They will protect our skies, for example, from Russian tactical aircraft. Their planes fly to our border and fire missiles at us. We are also moving forward with long-range missiles, which are currently scarce, and not all countries are ready to supply them to us. We are talking about this with our American partners," he said.

Speaking about Ukraine's expectations from the NATO Summit in Vilnius, the Advisor to the Head of the Presidential Office expressed his belief that the Summit should clearly dot the i's and cross the t's and make unequivocal statements that Ukraine is an integral part of the European security architecture.

"We understand that the war does not allow us to officially settle our relations, but we need to hear that this will happen immediately after the end of the conflict. I think it will be a natural process, which is now being moderated by history," summarized Mykhailo Podolyak.