“If Ukraine received more weapons, it could win this war”

Andriy Yermak, head of the Ukrainian presidential administration, during a press briefing on the conflict, in kyiv, March 31, 2022.

In kyiv, the Ukrainian power is wondering about the contradictory signals sent by Russia in recent days. If it seems impossible, at this stage of the conflict, to presume the intentions of Russian President Vladimir Putin, the essential for Andriy Yermak is simple: “If the Russians had decided to leave Ukraine, we would see it. » Such is not the case, and the war continues.

The head of the Ukrainian presidential administration sighs. For him, “the change in Russian strategy is real”with dual military priority now given to the “blockade of Ukraine in the South” and to “the attack of the Ukrainian forces in the Donbass, in the East”but, despite “position changes” Russian forces around kyiv, the city continues to live under the threat of bombing. Nothing indicates that Moscow has definitively given up on conquering the capital and the main cities of Ukraine one day.

If he denounces the aspects “unbearable” of the conflict, especially “photos of killed children” received daily by the presidential cabinet, “the destruction of Mariupol” and “the forced transfer of civilians to Russia”, Mr. Yermak shares the optimism that has won kyiv over the first thirty-six days of war and the fierce resistance of the Ukrainian forces. In an interview granted, Thursday, March 31, to the correspondents of three French newspapers (The world), German (Picture) and American (The New Yorker), the head of the presidential administration declares to be “sure of victory”eventually, Ukraine.

“No compromise” on the territories

Andriy Yermak, who, together with President Volodymyr Zelensky, is leading discussions with Russia and with foreign powers, recalls that, for kyiv, there cannot be, at the end of this war, “no compromise” on three points: “Independence, Sovereignty and Territorial Integrity” from Ukraine. He notes a “change of tone” of Moscow in bilateral meetings: “At first it was just ultimatums and unacceptable proposals; today it is a dialogue, even if it is very difficult. »

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The head of the presidential administration says Mr Zelensky wants both “stop this war” and “recover Ukrainian territories” conquered by Russia. Asked if he is thinking of the territories occupied since the outbreak of the war in 2014 – annexed Crimea and occupied Donbass – or only those conquered since February 24, he reiterates that, if kyiv seeks to ” save lives “ and “save cities”the current president “will never give Russia one centimeter of Ukrainian territory ” and “will not accept any solution contrary to the interests of Ukraine”. He also notes with satisfaction that “Crimea and Donbass are back at the negotiating table, which was not really the case in recent years”.

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