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20 Jan, 2024 15:03

Attempts to isolate Russia have failed – Zelensky aide

Senior adviser Mikhail Podoliak also clarified that there is no talk among Kiev's Western backers of sending troops to Ukraine
Attempts to isolate Russia have failed – Zelensky aide

A senior adviser to Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has admitted that Western efforts to isolate Russia have failed to produce any results so far. Mikhail Podoliak also acknowledged in an interview with Germany’s BILD newspaper published on Friday that Kiev is facing difficulties in trying to mobilize more troops.

Zelensky also expressed concerns in Novermber that Moscow was not being isolated as planned, as China and multiple Global South nations refused to toe the line set by the West and instead maintained a neutral position. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov also said that the campaign to reduce Russia to a “rogue state” had failed.

Podoliak replied in the negative when asked whether there is a scenario in which neighboring European countries would send their own troops to Ukraine.

We will agree to any help but, so far, there is no such talk,” the presidential aide clarified.

We are talking about weapons and sanctions for isolating Russia… but that has not yet led to results,” he added.

Amid such “disappointments,” Ukrainian authorities will step up efforts to explain to their citizens why they should go to the front line, the senior adviser said. Following the country’s failed summer counteroffensive, officials in Kiev have been concerned about a decline in both in the quantity and quality of troops, and have resolved to intensify mobilization, Podoliak explained.

As Ukrainian MPs work out a new law aimed at closing military-service loopholes, reports abound of Ukrainian men attempting to illegally flee the country. Over 20 Ukrainians have died trying to escape in sub-freezing temperatures on Ukraine’s Western border, The Times newspaper reported last week, citing a Ukrainian border guard.

Podoliak warned that European nations should either give Ukraine all the means necessary to prevail on the battlefield now or they can expect the conflict to spread to their soil eventually.

Russian President Vladimir Putin pointed out last month however that “Russia has no interest… geopolitically, economically or militarily... in waging war against NATO.

While Western leaders and NATO representatives have repeatedly stressed that they have no plans to send their military personnel to Ukraine, there have been multiple reports that some have nonetheless operated in the country.

As recently as Friday, French Defense Minister Sebastien Lecornu acknowledged that “there are French civilians who went to fight in Ukraine in Ukrainian military uniform.” He hastened to emphasize, however, that such individuals “have no connection with the French armed forces.

His remark came after the Russian Defense Ministry claimed earlier this week that one of its strikes had killed dozens of French fighters in the city of Kharkov.

Late last year, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu alleged that “NATO service members are directly operating air defense systems, tactical ballistic missiles, and multiple-launch rocket systems” in Ukraine. He cited radio intercepts of communications in English and Polish.

Also in December, Declassified UK, citing a recent book by Polish journalist Zbigniew Parafianowicz, reported that British special forces troops were operating on the outskirts of Kiev in March 2022.