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Former Polish President Aleksander Kwaśniewski Dishes on how to deal with the Vladimir Putin spiral

JERUSALEM — Former President of Poland Aleksander Kwaśniewski sat across from Vladimir Putin on dozens of occasions. Having dealt with the Russian president through numerous conflicts during his 10-year tenure – most notably when he helped Ukraine remove a pro-Russian president who came to power after a The election was allegedly rigged—Kwaśniewski has never been known to back down from a confrontation with Putin.

Now, with the Russian president preparing to make his debut an all-out invasion Regarding Ukraine’s potential for a devastating war, Kwaśniewski has some thoughts on how to manage the latest wave of aggression from Moscow. And it involves doing the exact opposite of what Putin demands of the US and NATO.

NATO should accept it immediately Ukraine as a full member, Kwaśniewski, who served as president of Poland from 1995-2005, told The Daily Beast during a visit to Jerusalem.

“If Putin can decide overnight that Donetsk and Luhansk are no longer part of Ukraine, why can’t we decide Ukraine is a member of NATO? Organizations he attended after the Munich Security Conference. “For me, the real test will be the NATO question. Ukraine – even a part, divided Ukraine – must become a member of NATO now, not next week,” he added, referring to Donetsk and Luhansk, two Ukrainian provinces that have in fact been annexed by Russia. import.

For months, Vladimir Putin has been actively pushing for NATO to ensure that Ukraine will be barred from participating in the alliance, using Western leaders’ refusal to give in to that demand as justification for Moscow’s continued climb. military ladder. Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has maintained his position that his country should have the right to join the union as a member state, with all the security privileges that come with it.

“The question is do you support the European Union or support Russia. Do you want to be part of the free world or part of the country that is a big prison in Guantanamo?”

On Tuesday, the international military alliance did not mention the possibility of upgrading Ukraine’s status, but in a press conference NATO Director Jens Stoltenberg acknowledged that “every indication is that Russia continues to plan an all-out assault on Ukraine… More and more forces are moving out of the camps and into combat formations and ready to strike.” .

As the world eyes Ukraine’s borders for signs of a full-scale invasion that Kwaśniewski believes is Putin’s “possible next step,” observers have different skills. about Putin warns that he has launched something catastrophic: an endless multi-level attack that moves only below the Biden administration’s standards of direct military intervention.

With Ukraine virtually besieged by Russian forces, two provinces declaring “independence” and regularly hacking, “they want to make our lives impossible, so we agree.” nothing better than this – even their takeover,” said Ruslan Kavatsiuk, a former adviser to Ukraine’s Army Chief of Staff Viktor Muzhenko, who was an officer who fought against the forces. Russia in the Donbass region, in 2014.

Kavatsiuk told The Daily Beast: “They wanted to break our minds. “Their main problem is that they are afraid to enter without the consent of the people. They want us to say ‘we can’t exist like this, give us anything else, including you”.

However, Kavatsiuk, who is said to have known that he speaks Russian kill list if the Ukrainian government is overthrown of Russian forces, adding that “no other army has killed more Russian soldiers than the Ukrainian armed forces.” When Russia invaded Crimea, he said, Russian forces were stopped even when overwhelmed by the Ukrainian army. “They don’t stop in Crimea because they feel like it.”

Ukraine has long envisioned Russia’s ambitious leaders and dissidents dreaming of freedom from Russian domination. Natan Sharansky, a native of Donetsk and its most famous dissident who spent nine years in Soviet prisons in the 1980s, recalls in an interview with The Daily Beast conversation about Ukraine with accomplices. “In our scenarios, once the Soviet Union collapses, Ukraine will become independent and will quickly become a country like France… Ukraine has great potential as a democracy and for Putin, the main concern was that Ukraine was the main obstacle preventing him from restoring the Soviet empire. ”

He added: “The more they turn to the West and NATO, the more Putin thinks ‘we want our land back’.

Putin, he believes, has good reason to hope later the failure of President Obama in 2013 to abandon red lines against the use of chemical weapons in Syria, this opened the door for Russia’s reunion as a diplomatic actor in the Middle East.

“I have seen very, very serious citizens. They don’t laugh. They were prepared to fight. Putin may have underestimated their will.”

Sharansky, who became an Israeli politician after his release, said: “Obama has shown incredible weakness in doing what he did with Syria’s chemical weapons, surviving Assad and the Russians. Build their base. “It is a mistake that Israel has quietly done this.” Commenting on his country’s predicament, Israeli foreign minister Yair Lapid on Monday said “Russia is our neighbor to the north.”

A year later, Putin annexed the Crimean peninsula, part of Ukraine, into Russian hands through a silent invasion of uniformed soldiers. The West imposes sanctions on Russia. “It is clear that the West will not do anything to stop him,” Sharansky said. “He wanted Crimea for a long time and it was a difficult decision for him, but the weakness of an American president who didn’t keep his word made it much easier.”

Putin, Kavatsiuk said, miscalculated the support he enjoyed in Ukraine by assuming that Russian speakers – a group that includes every Ukrainian over the age of 30 who lived under Soviet rule – would support it. his attempt to annex part or all of Ukraine into a greater Russia. .

Kavatsiuk, Deputy Executive Director of Kyiv’s Babyn Yar Massacre Memorial Center, says that some native Russian-speaking Ukrainians switch to Ukrainian when traveling abroad so as not to be perceived as Russian.

“Language is not an issue,” he said. “The question is are you for the European Union or for Russia? Do you want to be part of the free world or part of the country that is a big prison in Guantanamo? We choose freedom and democracy day after day, over and over again, we choose democracy because it’s part of our DNA,” he said.

A recent poll conducted by the Ilko Kucheriv Foundation for Democracy Initiative, an independent think tank, found that 78% of Ukrainians consider Ukrainian as their mother tonguecompared with 18% whose native language is Russian.

While foreign embassies have left the capital Kyiv, a move Kavatsiuk calls “cowardly”, Ukrainian citizens are still subjected to an unusual economic and psychological attack. Many people with families in the western part of the country are trying to find refuge with loved ones.

“Psychologically, how long can people live under such pressure?” Kwaśniewski asked, recalling his visit, less than a week ago, to Dnipro, Ukraine’s fourth-largest city in the nation’s endangered east, just 160 miles from Donetsk. “I have seen very, very serious citizens. They don’t laugh. They were prepared to fight. Putin may have underestimated their will.”

https://www.thedailybeast.com/former-polish-president-aleksander-kwasniewski-dishes-on-how-to-deal-with-spiraling-vladimir-putin?source=articles&via=rss Former Polish President Aleksander Kwaśniewski Dishes on how to deal with the Vladimir Putin spiral

Russell Falcon

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