West doesn’t want ‘complete defeat’ of Russia – Zelensky aide
Western countries aren’t arming Ukraine with tanks and planes because they’re now looking for a negotiated end to the conflict between Kiev and Moscow, Alexey Arestovich, a top aide to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, has said.
“It’s clear what we’re talking about. They don’t want a complete defeat of Russia. They want to force Russia to negotiate in order to achieve peace,” Arestovich said in an interview interview with activist Mark Feygin on the latter's YouTube show on Friday.
However, the adviser warned that the plans of the EU leaders to stop the conflict through talks are bound to fail.
“It’s going to be about Ukraine liberating all its territories by military means, or at least, bringing things to as they were before February 24” when Moscow launched its military operation, he insisted.
So far, the Russian forces, who have an overwhelming advantage in artillery and other arms, are steadily gaining ground in Donbass.
But, according to Arestovich, “one day, a turning point will come – the Russian troops will begin to withdraw from Ukraine on their own just like they retreated from the Kiev, Sumy, and the Chernigov Region.”
This will happen “for one simple reason” because the Russian military will “realize the futility” of its efforts, he stated.
Moscow did withdraw its troops from areas mentioned by Arestovich in early April. According to Russia, this was done as a gesture of goodwill following a promising launch of peace talks with Ukraine in Istanbul. However, Kiev soon backtracked on the agreements floated in Turkey, and the sides have not approached the negotiating table since then.
French President Emmanuel Macron, who visited Kiev on Thursday together with the German and Italian leaders, explained that Western nations have decided to refrain from supplying tanks and planes to Ukraine. “This is an unofficial agreement, but it is also almost the official position of NATO countries,” he said.
“We help Ukraine to defend itself, but we are not participating in the war against Russia,” Macron explained.
Back in April, Poland said it supplied Ukraine with about 240 Soviet-designed T-72 tanks.
There were also unconfirmed reports that Czechia, Slovakia, and Slovenia had sent tanks to Kiev – whether some version of the T-72 or the very similar Yugoslav M-84. Major EU nations, however, have so far refrained from supplying Kiev's forces with this kind of weapon.
Russia attacked Ukraine in late February, following Kiev’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The German- and French-brokered protocols were designed to give the breakaway regions special status within the Ukrainian state.
The Kremlin has since demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two republics by force.