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30 May, 2023 20:21

Top Zelensky aide wants a ‘demilitarized zone’ in Russia

Establishing one is crucial to preventing “a recurrence of aggression in the future,” Mikhail Podoliak says
Top Zelensky aide wants a ‘demilitarized zone’ in Russia

Mikhail Podoliak, the top adviser to Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, has called for the creation of a “demilitarized zone” deep into Russia’s territory, claiming it is a “key topic” to discuss in order to achieve lasting peace.

The official touted the idea in a Twitter post on Monday, stating that creating this zone would mean the “establishment of safeguards to prevent a recurrence of aggression in the future.” A “demilitarized zone” of 100-120km (62-76 miles) deep into Russian territory bordering Ukraine would also “ensure real security” for the residents of the Ukrainian cities of Kharkov, Chernigov, and Sumy Regions, Podoliak claimed.

The senior official also listed the Russian region of Zaporozhye, as well as Lugansk and Donetsk, which voted to break away from Ukraine last year.

According to Podoliak, the so-called “demilitarized zone” should be established in Russia’s Belgorod, Bryansk, Kursk, and Rostov Regions – effectively covering most of them.

“Probably with a mandatory international control contingent at the first stage,” he added. He referred to the regions as “republics,” in an apparent nod to the idea of breaking Russia into dozens of lesser states, which has been a popular topic for discussion among top Ukrainian officials.

Over the course of the ongoing conflict, multiple Ukrainian officials have repeatedly floated the idea of dismantling Russia altogether, with establishing a “demilitarized zone” apparently topping the list.

Earlier this month, the latter idea was supported by the head of the Ukrainian military’s Main Intelligence Directorate (GUR), Kirill Budanov, who did, however, admit a zone stretching 60 miles (some 96km) along the border would do.

“If [the Russians] are not going to attack and don’t decide they want revenge in a couple of years, this shouldn’t be an issue,” he suggested.