Almost a year after the start of Russia’s large-scale aggression against Ukraine, the world community sensed the approach of a critical moment in this brutal war.
So far, Ukraine has shown incredible resilience. Its military, civil society and government not only resisted the Russian invasion, they turned the tide of the war.
As the transatlantic community bolstered this resilience of Ukraine with financial and technical assistance, many world leaders are increasingly wondering how much support they should provide for Ukraine’s victory.
Oleksiy Goncharenko, deputy of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, member of the European Solidarity faction, during a discussion held at the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA) gave answers to many questions facing the West , also addressing the fight against corruption in Ukraine and the contours of post-war Ukrainian and European security.
The Ukrainian parliamentarian considers what is happening as a “historic moment” and is convinced that “the outcome of the war in Ukraine will determine the course of world history in the decades to come”.
A lot of modern weapons are needed, and tomorrow
Against the background of numerous reports that Russia is preparing a new offensive operation, as well as against the background of the worsening situation in eastern Ukraine in the Bakhmut, Soledar, Vuhledar and Marinka regions, the shelling of Russian ongoing infrastructure facilities and residential areas of cities and towns of Ukraine, the West has taken an unprecedented decision on the supply of armored vehicles and other modern weapons to Ukraine.
However, the number of tanks that will be handed over to Ukraine in the next few days is still not enough, notes Oleksiy Goncharenko.
“Of course, four or six is better than zero,” said the MP. – It must be remembered that when Russia was advancing, it had, according to various estimates, from 11 to 20 thousand tanks. Thousands! In other words, 100 tanks will not immediately change the rules of the game.”
In addition, Goncharenko recalled what happened to the protection of Ukrainian skies.
“The Patriots arrived recently, although it has been clear since the summer that Putin is using winter as a weapon, attacking the Ukrainian energy system. I am here with you, and my wife and two children are in Odessa, they have no electricity now,” said the Ukrainian politician.
Goncharenko tried to explain his disappointment with the pace of Western arms deliveries. At the beginning of the war, the deputy entered the territorial defense of Ukraine, defending the capital of the country. The defense of Kiev gave Goncharenko special experience to continue his work in the Verkhovna Rada.
“I can tell you that if the Ukrainian army had had in February or March what we received in May and June, we would have ended the war in April… The weapons that we had at the start of the invasion (Stingers, Javelins and NLAWS ) was a weapon for guerrilla warfare. The West believed that Kiev would fall and the war would become partisans. This was a mistake. And then, after a successful offensive near Kharkov, then near Kherson, Ukraine demanded: give us armored vehicles, tanks … It was then clear to us that it was time for a counter-offensive before the arrival of “Putin’s mobilized”, “Goncharenko explained and added , that “hope that if everyone learned a lesson from this, then it is necessary to supply Ukraine with more tanks and long-range shells for HIMARS, ATACMS, more drones, fighters”.
“If deliveries are not completed by summer, I expect Putin to mobilize more than a hundred thousand people, find even more weapons in Iran, Africa and North Korea, and restart several new factories in Russia. I believe in Ukraine winning, but they haven’t fully won yet,” Goncharenko said.
Goncharenko thanked the United States for its support for Ukraine and the White House administration for the excellent work done to unite the countries of the free world.
“Today the West is united by the desire for Ukraine to win, but at the same time many are afraid of what the world will be like when Russia loses,” Goncharenko said. – The reason, as Henry Kissinger wrote in his article – “Yes, Russia is bad, but it is part of the eternal world balance.”
The Ukrainian politician is convinced that “it is not the Russians, but the ’empire’ itself, that is, the post-Soviet world, which is the remnant of both the USSR and the Russian Empire, must disappear, just like the Ottoman Empire , Austro-Hungarian, French and British empires disappeared.”
Fighting Corruption in a War
As more and more voices are heard in the United States and Europe demanding more control over how funds and equipment provided to Ukraine are spent, Kiev has launched a huge effort in the fight against Corruption.
In this part, according to the deputy of the Verkhovna Rada, for the United States and other allies “there is good news from Kiev.”
Goncharenko said that investigations of corruption cases were carried out by Ukrainian law enforcement agencies and Ukrainian media published investigations of Ukrainian journalists regarding corrupt officials.
“Ukrainian society itself demands a reaction from the government, even under conditions of war. Ukrainian civil society is one of the best in the world. But, of course, state institutions are far from perfect. Therefore, in this case, we need this support. And it is very good that a group of inspectors from the US Department of Defense, as well as from the State Department, came to Kiev. And over the past few years, not a single piece of military equipment supplied to Ukraine has been found anywhere, except for the Ukrainian-Russian front,” said Oleksiy Goncharenko.
Ukraine’s historical role is defined
As Vice-President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe’s Committee on Migration and Refugees, the politician was sensitive to the issue that most concerns the West today: the new world order. after the war, a reliable security system in the world. According to the MP, when Ukraine “wins this war, there will be no need to search for its place in the new post-war world order”, he was determined.
“The Madrid summit I attended last year was historic because it was the moment when the entire free world came together for the first time in history. Representatives from Japan, Australia, from South Korea were present, but for the Ukrainian people it was a missed opportunity, because there was no decision on Ukraine.
Goncharenko called on NATO countries at the next summit to be held in Vilnius in June to approach the issue of Ukraine’s entry into the alliance.
“Europe and the West tried to build European security based on the concept that Ukraine is a ‘buffer’ between Russia and Europe. Let’s face it: it didn’t work. I think this whole war has shown that dictatorship cannot coexist with democracy. And somewhere in the future, either the whole planet will become democratic, or bad times await us all,” Goncharenko said.
At the head of the inter-factional association “For a democratic Belarus” in the Verkhovna Rada, Aleksei Goncharenko insisted on a hard line against tyranny in the neighboring country.
“It was long before the invasion, my colleagues told me that, they said: ‘leave Lukashenka, it’s an internal affair of Belarus’. Like, ‘we exchange with them’. And the same thing that happened with Iran. Like, “Iran is too far from us. The lesson of Ukraine today, – underlined by Ukrainian politicians, – is that when you endure evil, it comes to And now Belarus has become a springboard for an attack on Ukraine, and Iranian drones are flying from Belarus to us.
Goncharenko is sure that the historical role of Ukraine has already been determined.
“Ukraine, in this new world, will become a freedom fighting unit, because today we have the most powerful army, after the United States. Not only because we have well-armed people, but also because our people have real combat experience. This role imposes a great responsibility on Ukraine: to be at the forefront, to be on the line of defense of the free world means to become a true icon of democracy. It’s a huge responsibility. However, from a historical point of view, we have already stepped into this role, and we will have to be strong enough to bear this burden,” he said.