For Kiev, Putin wants to « destroy Ukraine » but will not succeed

Russian President Vladimir « Putin wants to destroy Ukraine » and « reestablish the USSR», Denounces to AFP the secretary of the Ukrainian National Security Council at the height of tensions with Moscow, assuring that this project is doomed to failure. For more than a month, the West has accused Russia of having massed around 100,000 soldiers on the Ukrainian border with a view to military intervention and has multiplied warnings to the Kremlin, which denies any bellicose intention. « For us, the threat exists every day, no matter how many troops there are« Deployed by Moscow, explained Oleksiy Danilov, 59, secretary of the Ukrainian Security Council, during an interview in his office.

Vladimir Putin will not achieve his ends because « in the event of a Russian offensive, all of society, military and civilians (…) will put up resistance« , Estimated Oleksiy Danilov. « We will protect our country. Period.The Russian president, for his part, has not ceased for years to question the existence of a Ukrainian nation. In particular, he said on Thursday that Ukraine had been « createdBy Lenin in the 1920s. Oleksiy Danilov, however, downplayed the risk of an impending escalation, adding that, according to Kiev estimates, the number of Russian troops around Ukraine had only increased slightly, from 93,000 in October to around 104,000 now. « We don’t see any critical build-up« , A noté Oleksiy Danilov.

« Destabilization »

According to him, the Kremlin seeks above all to « destabilize« Ukraine from the inside thanks to »cyber attacks » and an « energy crisis»While this country, one of the poorest in Europe, lacks coal and gas and risks being confronted with serious power cuts this winter. If this scenario fails, the Russian power will « use other means, including military« , Estimated Oleksiy Danilov. « They want to segment our country so that it no longer exists within its current borders.The two countries have been at daggers drawn since Moscow’s annexation of the Crimean peninsula in 2014, followed by a war in eastern Ukraine with pro-Russian separatists. The Kremlin, despite its denials, is considered the rebels’ great military and political support.

This conflict, whose political settlement has stalled, has left more than 13,000 dead and around 1.5 million displaced in Ukraine, a country of 40 million inhabitants located at the gates of the European Union. Moscow accuses Kiev of preparing a military offensive to retake the separatist territories, but the Ukrainian authorities firmly exclude it. « We can not« Use force as this would entail »a very large number of victimsCivilians, noted Danilov, former mayor of the city of Lugansk, now in the hands of the separatists. « We would like there to be negotiations and for the Russians to withdraw their soldiers, their tanks and return home. But Putin doesn’t want it.»

More weapons

On the other hand, in the event of an escalation with Moscow, « millions of refugees« Will rush »to Europe« , Warned the senior Ukrainian official. While the West has threatened Moscow with further punitive measures in the event of an attack, Kiev is calling for preventive sanctions and more weapons. « Providing us with weapons to defend ourselves is the number one issue. No fleeting promises and sanctions», a tonné Oleksiy Danilov. «When our country is destroyed, against whom are you going to impose sanctions?»

The official warned the West against any arrangement with the Kremlin in the run-up to negotiations in January between Moscow and Washington on the security demands of the Kremlin, which notably demands that Kiev never join NATO. According to Oleksiy Danilov, the Ukrainians will never accept concluded agreements « behind the back». «We are not Russia», He emphasizes. « So-called great leaders cannot make us bow and decide for us.»

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