Ukraine yet to be ‘denazified’ – Putin
Russia has not yet achieved its goals in the Ukraine conflict, as Nazi ideology is alive and well in the neighboring state, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said.
In an interview with American journalist Tucker Carlson released on Thursday, the Russian leader insisted that the Ukraine conflict did not start in February 2022, but rather in 2014 when Kiev tried to suppress an uprising in Donbass where the local population protested against the Western-backed coup earlier that year.
Moscow’s military operation against Kiev was an attempt “to stop this war,” Putin claimed. However, he acknowledged that “we haven’t achieved our aims yet,” most notably when it comes to “denazification.”
Asked to elaborate on what ‘denazification’ means, he explained that in the search for a national identity, Ukraine “came up with nothing better than to build upon some false heroes who collaborated” with German Nazi regime during World War II.
Putin argued that this is exemplified by the visit of Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky to the Canadian parliament last September, during which MPs gave a standing ovation to Yaroslav Hunka, a Ukrainian Nazi SS veteran. “He personally killed Russians, Poles, and Jews… The president of Ukraine… applauded this man. How can this be imagined?”
Although Nazi leader Adolf Hitler has been dead for 80 years, “his example lives on,” Putin said.
Can we say that we have completely uprooted this ideology if what we see is happening today? … We have to get rid of those people who maintain this concept and support this practice and try to preserve it – that is what denazification is.
Putin also claimed that Ukraine and Russia discussed the issue early on in the conflict. “As strange as it may seem to you,” he told Carlson, “During the negotiations in Istanbul, we did agree that… neo-Nazism would not be cultivated in Ukraine, including that it would be prohibited at the legislative level.”
He added that this agreement would not have been “humiliating” for Ukraine, since there are no nations that allow Nazi ideology to be promoted.
Russian officials have claimed that Moscow and Kiev were close to settling the conflict in the spring of 2022, with Ukrainian neutrality as the key point on the agenda. However, according to Moscow, the process was derailed by then-UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who convinced Ukraine to keep on fighting – an allegation he denies.