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31 Aug, 2021 13:34

As Ukrainian president asks Biden for support against Russia, top Kiev official warns severing ties with Moscow is impossible

As Ukrainian president asks Biden for support against Russia, top Kiev official warns severing ties with Moscow is impossible

Despite tensions between the two nations reaching fever-pitch in recent months, Ukraine still sees no benefit in shutting down economic relations or border crossings with Russia, one of Kiev's top political advisors has revealed.

Alexey Arestovich, an advisor to the Head of the Ukrainian Presidential Office, told the Ukraine 24 TV channel on Monday that there was no question of totally severing ties with Moscow at present. "The world is arranged in a complex way," he said, defending the decision not to shut the door to a country Kiev considers to be an aggressor.

"Even if we shut all of this down now, introduce martial law, and so on, there should always be a question in politics and in life – What should we do? What are the consequences? If we begin to weigh the negative consequences for the same society, for the state and the positive ones, then, despite the fact that, yes, there is a misunderstanding, we seem to be fighting, but I must say that this is not a miracle in the world," he continued.

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Relations between the two nations have declined to rock bottom in recent months, having taken a turn for the worse after the 2014 Maidan events. Kiev has banned Russian television news, film and other major cultural imports, while calling on NATO to step up its presence near the shared border. However, at the same time, the country is reliant on billions of dollars of revenue from Moscow for gas transit fees to prop up its national budget, and is one of Russia's main export destinations.

Nevertheless, Arestovich added that Ukraine is working to reduce its economic dependence on Russia and, according to him, Russia is no longer its number one trading partner. Recently, there has been a shift to focus on deepening economic ties with the EU while imports from China have also grown.

Arestovich noted how other countries continue diplomacy with each other even when disagreements arise. By way of an example, he cited Iran and Iraq, who did not break off diplomatic relations despite disputes and conflicts that span several decades.

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky flew to Washington on Tuesday, where he is seeking assurances from his American counterpart Joe Biden that the US is committed to supporting Ukraine in its turn toward the West and in its standoff with Russia. The summit has been mooted for more than two years, and been postponed several times.

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