President of Ukraine

Mykhailo Podolyak: The return of Ukrainians deported to Russia will be another war - a war for our citizens

21 April 2022 - 10:49

Adviser to the Head of the President's Office Mykhailo Podolyak is convinced that Russia will hinder the return of Ukrainian citizens forcibly deported from the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine or places of active hostilities, so their return will be another frontline for our country after the active phase of the war.

"This is a difficult procedure that will require intermediary countries or international institutions that will allow us to bring people back. I’d like to note that this will also be a war. After the war, there will be a war to take our people back," Mykhailo Podolyak said during the United News TV marathon.

According to him, Russia, which has a historical tradition and practice of so-called resettlement of nations in order to separate them from their homeland, will never acknowledge that people were forcibly deported or forced to do so by conditions created by Russians.

"They will not tell us objective information that, for example, of the 100,000 deported from Mariupol, Volnovakha and other regions of the Donetsk region, only 5% wanted to go to Russia, and the rest were forcibly deported there," said the Adviser to the Head of the Office of the President.

According to Mykhailo Podolyak, the Russians will continue to try to convince the world community that this migration was voluntary.

"In terms of propaganda, the Russians will lie to the whole world that these people wanted to go from Ukraine to such a large and prosperous country, that they feel “comfortable” living in Tomsk and so on," he said.

"Ukrainians who lived in beautiful cities, had an opportunity to travel the world, build a career, study in good educational institutions, chose these ruined, useless and worthless cities of the Russian Federation as their place of residence?" added the Adviser to the Head of the President's Office.

Regarding the possibility of returning deported citizens of Ukraine, Mykhailo Podolyak noted that first of all it will be necessary to clarify who was deported to Russia, how and under what conditions, who agreed and who was deported by force. After that, it will be necessary to compile legally verified lists and hand them over to the Russian side.

Mykhailo Podolyak is convinced that these people should be visited by mediators or representatives of international organizations who will be trustworthy so that citizens can communicate openly with them and will not be afraid to say that they want to return to their country.

"This is a whole legally sound procedure for us to take them back," the Adviser to the Head of the President's Office summed up.

As for the prospects of agreeing on humanitarian corridors for the evacuation of civilians from the city of Mariupol, which is under constant fire from the occupiers, the Ukrainian side is in constant contact with Russia on this issue, but unfortunately Russia rejects or agrees and then does not keep the word.

"There was an attempt by a third party - Turkey, which tried to take part in taking people from Mariupol. They wanted to do it through the waters of the Sea of Azov, and offered other options. But the Russians are waging war against us not in terms of hostilities - they are waging a genocidal war. They believe that it is possible to kill and keep the corridors closed for the delivery of medicines or food. Unfortunately, they are using Syrian tactics," he said, adding that Russia is waging an inhumane war against civilians.

However, Ukraine will continue to demand the opening of humanitarian corridors, a temporary ceasefire and the involvement of a third party as a guarantor or mediator, Mykhailo Podolyak said.

"The world watches this war live, and it is unclear what reputation the Russian Federation is counting on. What do they want in historical terms? They will be called the Nazi state of the Russian Federation in history textbooks,” said the Adviser to the Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine.