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In Ukraine, the weekend has come and gone — along with Russia’s self-declared ceasefire, Vladimir Putin.
Except that there were actually no signs of a ceasefire. Instead, Russia and Ukraine accused each other of continuing to launch attacks.
Ukraine has never agreed to a cease-fire, arguing that it was just a Russian excuse to regroup. So where does it go from here, both on the battlefield and on the diplomatic front?
All things considered Host Marie-Louise Kelly speaks to Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba about the so-called ceasefire, the choices Putin has left, and what counts as a victory for Ukraine from now on.
This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.
On the non-ceasefire over the weekend
Well, those are two big Russian lies. The resolution on the ceasefire is working – it is not only the Ukrainian government that rejects this claim. It was also the international media on the ground in Kramatorsk who immediately went to the places where Russian missiles allegedly hit dormitories with Ukrainian soldiers. And it didn’t happen. So here’s just one more proof that you should never trust what the Russians say.
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About Vladimir Putin’s strategy and how it has changed over the past year
Oh, I think we were — we miscalculated. By the time he was pulling all this army to the borders of Ukraine. Deep down, he had made a decision to invade and was preparing the ground for this invasion. But, you know, we are looking back at this situation, and now we can understand the sequence and logic of his actions. Things were not as clear as they seem now… If you look at the battlefield and the situation now, I think Putin does not have much choice.
In fact, I think he only has one choice, but he doesn’t want to accept it. This option is to lose the war. The difficulty and tragedy of this moment is that he is not ready to face the truth and look for a way out. Instead, he throws more and more resources and, most importantly, human resources into battle, trying to win at any cost. But this will not happen. won’t win.
On what is considered a victory for Ukraine
Well, the first point is to restore Ukraine’s territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders.
For us, there is no difference between Crimea and Donbass. There is no difference between Kherson, Simferopol or Yalta, Crimean cities … [Crimea is] Just another part of Ukraine stolen by Russia.
that simple. And yes, we are talking about restoring Ukraine’s territorial integrity, including every square inch of our soil… We always have to remember that the possibility of Ukraine surviving the Russian invasion and the possibility of you and I talking in January 2023 was even less likely than what you mentioned.. Ukraine’s performance has exceeded even its own expectations.
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On any signs that Russia might be willing to negotiate
Not at this point. In fact, we see that they reject the peace formula proposed by President Zelensky. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t keep trying. We have to pursue a diplomatic process as well. And this is what President Zelensky came up with: The formula for peace consists of 10 simple steps. Some of them require the participation of Russia, some do not. Russia may or may not like it, but it is about building a coalition – a coalition of countries willing to seek a diplomatic solution along the lines proposed by President Zelensky.
About the reason for the continued aid from the United States to Ukraine
Because if Ukraine loses, the world – in which the United States plays such an important role – will begin to fall apart. Because if Ukraine loses, countries — some malign actors around the world — will prefer to follow Russia’s path and take the same risks: invading, committing atrocities, and destroying trade.
This is all that the United States has defended over decades and centuries in its foreign policy.
It is up to the US government and other partners of Ukraine to make their decisions about how long they will support us. But we made our choice, we made the decision. We will fight the invaders as long as we can breathe.
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