Ukraine is 'ready and able' to defeat Russia: Ukrainian foreign minister
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba published an editorial in Friday's New York Times warning the West that Russian President Vladimir Putin's calls for a ceasefire in Ukraine are lies.
"No one should be fooled," Kuleba began. "Whatever its officials may say, Russia remains focused on war and aims to ruin Ukraine and shatter the West. The sight of Odesa, hit by Russian missiles just hours after a deal was reached to allow grain exports from southern ports, should dispel any lingering naïveté. For Vladimir Putin, a cease-fire now would simply allow his depleted invasion forces to take a break before returning for further aggression."
Putin, Kuleba cautioned, "will not stop until he is stopped. That’s why calls for a cease-fire, audible across Europe and America, are badly misplaced. This is not the time to accept unfavorable cease-fire proposals or peace deals. The task instead is to defeat Russia and limit its ability to attack anyone again in the foreseeable future. With sustained and timely assistance, Ukraine is ready and able to do so."
Putin launched his unprovoked invasion on February 24th. In the months since it began, half of Putin's army and tens of thousands of Ukrainian resistance fighters and civilians have been killed. Putin's "special military operation" has caused major disruptions to the global economy, most notably causing food and fuel prices to surge. And fears of an escalating conflict with the United States, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, or the European Union – which have provided material support to Ukraine – have underscored the dangers that Putin's megalomania poses to international security.
Even though severe sanctions have crippled Russia's economy, Putin's conquest has continued.
"No one wanted this war other than Russia, and no country in the world craves peace more than Ukraine," Kuleba said. "But a lasting, durable peace — rather than the time bomb of a frozen conflict — is possible only after Russia suffers a major battleground defeat. That’s why Ukraine must win. Only then will Mr. Putin seek peace, not war."
Kuleba stressed that in order to defeat Russia, "the United States and our European allies need to speak to Mr. Putin in his language: the language of force. Practically, this means strengthening Ukraine militarily, by speeding up deliveries of advanced artillery pieces and armored vehicles, and economically with additional financial assistance. Sanctions should be increased, too, targeting Russian exports, banning its banks and restricting its access to maritime trade. Some might cavil at the price of such support."
Kuleba also expressed his gratitude for the backing from the West. But he emphasized that more is needed to ensure victory for Ukraine, which he believes in inextricably linked to the future of Europe.
"Military assistance to Ukraine is not charity. It is a necessary investment in Europe’s long-term security," he wrote. "The Ukrainian Army will emerge out of this conflict — Europe’s largest land war since 1945 — as one of the continent’s most capable military forces. After repelling Russia’s invasion, the Ukrainian military will devote itself to safeguarding the security and stability of Europe, protecting democracy from any authoritarian encroachment."
Despite the mounting losses and destruction, however, Kuleba remains optimistic that Putin can be routed.
"Ukraine has already stabilized the front line and is preparing to regain control over territories currently occupied by Russia, first and foremost in the strategically important south. It’s true that we lost some ground in the Luhansk region, because of Russia’s overwhelming advantage in artillery. But we are now slowly but steadily closing the gap, thanks to heavy weaponry supplied by the United States and others," he explained. "In recent weeks, Russia has failed to make any significant gains. We are determined to turn the tide in our favor and push Russian forces out of our land."
The stakes, Kuleba concluded, are both existential and enormous.
"We in Ukraine call on our partners to increase their support and reject Russia’s fake peace proposals. Nor should they pay any attention to the narrative, amplified by Russian propaganda, of so-called war fatigue. Every war is tiresome, but we need to endure," he proclaimed. "The price of losing — a crushed Ukraine, a shattered West and a resurgent Russia — is too high to countenance anything else."
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