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7 Dec, 2023 07:39

Zelensky’s incompetence ruined Kiev’s leverage – exiled opposition leader

The president had every opportunity to reconcile with Russia but chose to sell out Ukraine instead, Viktor Medvedchuk has said
Zelensky’s incompetence ruined Kiev’s leverage – exiled opposition leader

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky and his team admit that their current negotiating position with Russia would be weak, but they are also dodging responsibility for leading the nation to this impasse, former opposition leader Viktor Medvedchuk has said.

Medvedchuk, who was forced by the Zelensky government into exile in Russia, was commenting on a recent interview by MP David Arakhamia, who led the Ukrainian delegation in peace talks with Russia in Istanbul last year. The lawmaker believes that Kiev cannot negotiate with Moscow today due to the “very bad position” it would have. He suggested that a proposal to hold talks should be voted on in a national referendum.

“The Zelensky team turned out to be not just bad negotiators, but criminal amateurs” incapable of governing a nation, Medvedchuk claimed.

Zelensky was a comedian before going into politics in 2019 and winning the presidential election. A number of his business associates joined his political team.

When he took office, Zelensky inherited a roadmap to peace – the Minsk agreements – which his predecessor, Pyotr Poroshenko, refused to implement, Medvedchuk said. The new president could have “resolved the conflict in Donbass, renewed the country, and improved relations with Russia,” he added, but instead went in the opposite direction, leading to open hostilities with Russia.

“Just like today, he wanted to believe in a beautiful but unfeasible outcome. It’s no coincidence that he was named dreamer of the year [by Politico last week],” Medvedchuk wrote.

Zelensky again showed stubbornness when he rejected a proposal for a truce with Russia, after then-UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson visited Kiev, the exiled politician said. Arakhamia confirmed in his recent interview that Johnson told the Ukrainians “to just make war” with Russia. Tempted by Western aid, Zelensky “sold out [Ukrainians] for cannon fodder,” according to Medvedchuk.

After Ukraine failed to score any major successes on the battlefield during its summer counteroffensive, its position became even worse. Now, “Russia has no reason to make an agreement with the Zelensky regime on anything [considering] that the comedians in Kiev have repeatedly shown willingness to fool around at crucial talks about their country’s fate.”

Peace talks would be “a sentence for Zelensky, not only political, but also criminal,” Medvedchuk claimed. Ukrainians would wonder what stopped him from negotiating in 2019 instead of wasting time, lives, treasure, and the nation itself, he explained.

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