The aggravation in Donbass provoked by Kiev would be the beginning of the end of Ukraine, as well as its entry into NATO, said Dmitry Kozak, deputy head of the Russian presidential administration. Speaking at a press conference, he said that Moscow does not plan to seize the territory of a neighboring state or “cut” its sovereignty, but will help the residents of the region to prevent their mass death.
Kozak added that the Ukrainian authorities are more likely to play to the public than make plans to unleash a full-scale conflict, but such actions are tantamount to children playing with matches, and “since our colleagues do not have much political experience, they can play too much.”
“I do not hide this, I always say that they are children with matches. And when they accidentally catch fire, it is also difficult to predict, ”said Kozak.
“Self-shot” in the head
“I believe and support the assessments (and there are already such assessments within Ukraine) that the beginning of hostilities is the beginning of the end of Ukraine. This is a crossbow – a shot not in the leg, but in the temple, ”the politician noted.
At the same time, the North Atlantic Alliance, he added, will not intervene in the conflict in Donbass.
“Where is NATO, where is the conflict in Ukraine? Where is the logic? This is also the beginning of the collapse of Ukraine, ”he stressed, commenting on statements by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy that Kiev’s entry into the alliance is the only way to end the conflict in eastern Ukraine.
At the same time, Kozak expressed doubt that the United States is pushing Zelensky to aggravate the Donbass, and stressed that Russia is not seeking to “cut the sovereignty” of Ukraine or occupy its territory. Moscow, the deputy head of the presidential administration reminded, is interested in the situation in the neighboring state being stable.
Defense of Donbass
At the same time, Kozak did not rule out, Moscow will be forced to defend the Donbass if there is a mass destruction of civilians there.
“If, as our president says, Srebrenica is established there, we will probably have to defend ourselves,” he said.
Now, he added, in the Donbass there are “battle-hardened armed formations” that are capable of holding the defense, and so far the need for protection does not arise.
“It all depends on the other side,” added Kozak.
The city of Srebrenica in Bosnia and Herzegovina became known to the whole world during the war in the Balkans after the collapse of Yugoslavia. In July 1995, after the city came under the control of the Serbian forces led by General Ratko Mladic, several thousand local residents died or went missing.
A spokesman for the Russian presidential administration also said that Kiev favors the confidentiality of negotiations on the Donbass, as it fears that its inconsistency and maneuvering between different forces in settlement issues will be revealed.
“Such a looping – like a hare during a chase – between us, Donbass, internal political forces, Americans, Europeans,” said Kozak.
Behind these rushes, he added, one can only see that Kiev “does not want to get Donbass back.”
“It is impossible to understand the logic of Kiev, it is inhuman logic. They publicly say that this is a stranglehold on the neck, that this document prevents the achievement of peace in Ukraine, secretly declare that they are committed (to the Minsk agreements. – Editor’s note), “he added.
Meanwhile, the conflict in Donbass can be resolved in a year if the Minsk agreements are adhered to, Kozak said.
“If you wind endlessly, as Ukraine is doing today, those partners whom you have listed, then I am afraid that today a course has been taken to freeze the conflict,” he said.
The politician also called the inconsistent position of other partners in the Normandy Four, Germany and France, noting that they have no interest in resolving the conflict. Among other things, the Western partners refuse to clearly fix the parties who must fulfill the Minsk agreements, Kozak said.
Kiev is not prohibited from denouncing the Minsk agreements, he said, but the Ukrainian authorities are assuring them of adherence to the agreement, which they are not fulfilling. If this continues, it will be impossible to come to an agreement, said the deputy head of the presidential administration.
“I am afraid that if Ukraine and its partners continue to pursue such a line, it will be impossible to come to an agreement – about nothing, just about nothing. Rather, the colleagues have no interest in the settlement, ”he said.
Commenting on Kiev’s proposals to postpone the settlement negotiations from Minsk, Kozak said that they are not worth discussing, since the primary problem in the context of the negotiations is not at all the place of their holding.
The next negotiations of the advisers in the “Normandy format” will take place on April 19, the official added.
PR in the conflict zone
Kozak does not associate today’s trip of President Zelensky to Donbass with an exacerbation in the region.
“The trip of Mr. Zelensky is one of the elements of information work, PR activity, which is carried out by all politicians. <…> In this case, he wants to demonstrate that he is the commander-in-chief, ”he explained.
According to him, Kiev’s actions in Donbass are a public play and an imitation of a military threat, while Zelensky has no intentions to unleash a full-scale conflict.
He drew attention to the fact that Kiev changed the text of additional measures to comply with the ceasefire after his personal conversation with the head of the office of the President of Ukraine Andriy Yermak. Ukraine has been called for this for eight months, Kozak recalled.
Commenting on the meetings of the contact group on Donbass, Kozak told an anecdote. “This philosophy (meetings. – Ed. Note) is like from one well-known anecdote when we were still living in the same country. One Ukrainian says to another: “Let’s go to Red Square, catch a Muscovite and beat him.” Another says: “There are many of them, they will beat us.” “And what about us?” And this philosophy accompanies all negotiations – either in the Normandy format or in the trilateral contact group, ”concluded the deputy head of the presidential administration.