Top Ukrainian official lashes out at Zelensky adviser
The head of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council (NSDC), Alexey Danilov, has called out presidential adviser Mikhail Podoliak for making statements on behalf of the military.
Earlier this week, Podoliak unveiled an arms wish list for the West, saying Kiev needs 300 multiple-launch rocket systems, 500 tanks, and 1,000 howitzers to achieve heavy weapons parity with Russia.
On Saturday, in an interview with news outlet Liga, Danilov stressed that only senior military officials can make statements like this, questioning why Podoliak “is now the voice of the army.”
“I don’t understand why Podoliak makes such statements. Is he a representative of the General Staff? I only saw him on the stumps of Yanukovich,” Danilov said. By ‘stumps’, he was apparently referring to a path at former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich’s country residence. In 2011, Yanukovich showed off the residence to a group of journalists, telling them that every morning for half an hour, he would run up and down the stumps – comments which inspired numerous internet memes.
Asked about the duration of the military conflict with Russia amid Kiev’s shortage of weapons, Danilov said it’s important for Ukraine “to end this war with a victory as soon as possible.”
“The longer it lasts, the more the degree of perception in the West will fall. Domestic problems, domestic politics, elections... They will switch to the domestic agenda and pay less and less attention [to Ukraine]. There will be a certain weariness from the war,” he said.
He echoed the remarks of UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who warned on Saturday of “Ukraine fatigue,” which he said is growing around the world, while stressing that this should not prevent the West from conveying its support for Ukraine at this “particularly critical time.”
The Ukrainian military earlier revealed that Ukraine has lost up to half of its heavy weapons, including 400 tanks, and Western supplies are unable to fill the gap as they cover only 10-15% of the country’s needs.
Russia attacked the neighboring state in late February, following Ukraine’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.