Espreso. Global

Ukraine will never be in Russia's sphere of influence again - Ukrainian diplomat Klimkin

10 September, 2023 Sunday

In the West, there is absolute agreement that Ukraine has won this war with Russia. But the vision of this victory may differ from the way Ukrainians perceive it, as Russia has always been a threat to Ukraine's independence

Ukrainian diplomat, Minister of Foreign Affairs in 2014-2019 Pavlo Klimkin made the statement in an interview with Espreso YouTube channel.

In particular, he emphasized that the offer of "peace" at the expense of territorial losses is absolutely unacceptable for Ukrainians.

"No, this is not how history works. This is really a stupid probe and, in my opinion, it is worthless. Normal people understand perfectly well that we will not give up our territory, and not in the sense that we will sign something, this is not even a question. Imagine if one of the Ukrainian politicians or generals comes out and says that the future of Ukraine is important to us and that we will give up something for the sake of EU or NATO membership. And what will happen to that person tomorrow or the day after tomorrow, they will be killed, and not just politically. Even purely emotionally, who among Ukrainian politicians would really agree to give up part of Ukraine? No one!" Klimkin explained.

At the same time, the diplomat continued, "it is very important for the West that Ukraine becomes a success story."

"The West has had a lot of bad stories lately. Iraq is not a very good story, you must admit. Afghanistan did not work out. In Africa, everything is difficult for the French, but I think they will find some resources, and so will the Americans. By the way, we are helping them in Africa. Wagner and other private military companies have been involved. We have helped them 100% in Africa. And many people here do not fully understand this," Klimkin said.

"The West 100% does not want us to lose anything. The West does not want any failure around Ukraine, and they will really help us to make sure that this never happens," said Pavlo Klimkin.

But, as the diplomat put it, "there is no common definition of victory there (in the West - ed.)."

In this regard, Ukrainians "need a strategic culture, an understanding of our friends and our enemies."

"We need to understand what interests the Chinese or Saudis or Brazilians have. And they have their own mentality, their own understanding of the world," Klimkin added.

In general, according to his assessment, the international community, both Western and non-Western, has become much more aware of the importance of Ukraine's victory and better aware of Russia's aggressive nature. The perception of fundamental differences between Ukraine and Russia is also growing.

"I feel in my discussions that in the last 6-8 months they have started talking about Russian revanchism as one of the key reasons (for Russia's war against Ukraine - ed.). Many in the non-Western world understand what the stakes are. They now better understand the nature of Russia, and that it is a danger to everyone, and this regime is not just acting irrationally, but has made a fundamental mistake. And when Africans or Latin Americans tell me that they have always been told that you are Russians, but you are sick or wrong. And now they see that Ukrainians have different values. But on the other hand, they believe that we have a common historical touch, and this touch really exists. The question is how we can separate geopolitics. Because it is clear to everyone that the point of no return has been passed and we will never be in Russia's sphere of influence, neither mentally, nor politically, nor economically, nor historically," Klimkin said.

"It's like the bust of Pushkin that we are removing, and it doesn't matter whether Pushkin is a good poet or not. For us, this is part of the Russian world. Let's put up a bust of Goethe or Shakespeare if we want. Near the Ukrainian House, you remember Dante, who started the Renaissance. This is also a European cultural foundation. And it is important for us. And go to St. Cyril's Church. Do you remember this fantastic fresco with an angel folding the sky? It resonates with Dante. In fact, we have a European history, we think like them. We feel the same way as they do. And we will never explain this in Moscow. No matter how many times we say that the graffiti in Sofia is written in Old Ukrainian, Putin will not care. He will always consider us to be some kind of artificial creature, as it is part of his ideology, otherwise his regime would not survive," Pavlo Klimkin said.

In general, the diplomat summarized, "Russia will never become friendly to us in any historical perspective."

"This is a completely different reality, which believes that our existence denies their existence, as they understand themselves. And this means that (the threat will be there - ed.) even with membership in NATO and the EU, and I not only believe in this, but I have been doing this for 25 years, so I believe that we should become part of the West. This is the meaning of our security guarantees. However, to relax, put our paws down and say that now we are happy and do nothing else will not work," the former minister emphasized.

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