Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said that the only reason why Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a large-scale war in the heart of Europe is his desire to destroy the sovereign Ukrainian state and make the Ukrainian people part of Russia, after Russia occupied Ukraine’s Crimea and parts of my regions. Donetsk and Luhansk since February 2014.
In an exclusive interview with Al-Masry Al-Youm, the minister added, “If we do not stop them in Ukraine, Russia will continue its attempts to control, destabilize and destroy other countries, and the best way to put an end to this global crisis is to stop Russia on the battlefield and withdraw its military forces from the territory of Ukraine within its recognized borders.” it internationally.
He noted that Putin’s regime is organizing a “global famine” and deliberately blocking food exports from Ukraine, so that we make concessions and give part of our land to the Russians, but we do not trade with our people, our sovereignty or our land.
In response to what the High Representative for Foreign Affairs of the European Union Josep Borrell said, accusing Russia of destroying the second largest grain terminal in the Ukrainian city of Mykolaiv, he said this is 100% accurate information. Ukraine (250,000 to 300,000 tons) of grain in it was burnt, which could have been used to feed thousands of people in Africa or Asia.
Since the beginning of the war, Russian forces have destroyed and damaged many farms, food stocks, seeds, silos, oil depots, agricultural machinery and equipment, and when it comes to food insecurity caused by the Russian invasion, I would like Egyptian readers to realize that what is happening these days in and around Ukraine affects one way or another. For all countries and the vast majority of countries, including Egypt, prices and inflation are on the rise and the absence of the supply of grain threatens food security and causes malnutrition and starvation, and all of these things are due to the “invasion.” Moscow is playing a “hunger game” with the world.
And about the date of the end of the war, he said Russia has started the war and it must stop it, we did not attack anyone and did not want anything, but peace for our country, and this war was imposed by Russia, and here I say that when someone wants to destroy “your country and kill you”, the only option you have is Survive, confident that we will survive and win.
Regarding the statements of the former US Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, that the Ukrainian crisis is resolved through the rule of “land for peace,” he said with all due respect to the former US Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, that I see his view as outdated, and I would like to say that the idea of “ Land for Peace” has proven to be a huge historical mistake that led to the occupation of many countries in Europe and Asia in the past.
This narrative emerged, due to the Kremlin’s awareness of its inability to achieve its goals in Ukraine by military means, so Russia is trying to impose this vision to control the “occupied” Ukrainian lands, since February 24, 2022. We do not have “disputed territories” with Russia, there are only occupied areas.
Temporarily in Ukraine we will liberate it, and by the way, Egypt knows how it felt about the presence of a part of its lands, the Sinai Peninsula, temporarily occupied. Certainly, it would not have agreed to give up part of its lands in the past decades, and did not accept any such proposals, and with the passage of some It was time for Egypt to regain control and liberate it, so we look at Ukraine’s situation with this memory in mind, and the only principle that can be applied to the Russian war against Ukraine is “ending the occupation for the sake of peace.”
The minister emphasized that Ukrainian Prime Minister Denis Shmyal stated at the reconstruction conference in Lugano a few days ago that the amount required to rebuild Ukraine after the destruction caused by Russia amounts to 750 billion US dollars, and this includes direct damage to the civilian, military and economic infrastructure, and since the beginning of The Russian war against Ukraine destroyed 23,800 km of roads, 6,3 thousand railways, 41 railway bridges, 643 healthcare facilities, 1,123 educational institutions, 621 kindergartens, 192 cultural buildings, 115 religious buildings, 178 warehouses, 99 administrations. Buildings, 28 oil depots, and 19 shopping malls were damaged, destroyed or taken over.
As a result of the war, Ukraine has lost a third of its gross domestic product, and the monthly deficit in the state budget is 5 billion US dollars. Efforts to rebuild Ukraine will require coordination between the international community and Kyiv’s partners, and we expect to cover the majority of the amount from frozen Russian assets, and I stress that Russia is in the first place, And not our partners, should pay for the damage.
Regarding the appreciation of the Russian ruble against the euro and the dollar, he said the current exchange rate of the ruble does not reflect the real situation, and it is artificially supported by the Russian state, because the ruble is not a freely convertible currency, both the dollar and the euro are largely far from the Russian Federation due to sanctions, About $350 billion of Russia’s gold and foreign exchange reserves, or 60% of their volume, have been frozen due to Western sanctions.
More recently, the European Union agreed to a sixth package of sanctions covering in particular the ban on Russian oil imports, with a number of transition periods and exemptions, and the oil embargo will affect 75% of Russian oil exports to Europe and 90% by the end of the year, and the package expands the list of goods with Dual use and technology that is not allowed to be exported to Russia, because it can support the military and defense sectors, and we have started work on the next seventh package of sanctions.
On the position of the Arab region and the Middle East on the ongoing war, he said the position of Arab countries on the war is different from one country to another. Some countries prefer not to comment and turn a blind eye to the war in Ukraine to maintain their position in both camps, and monitor how the situation will develop, and others prefer to send aid Humanity with the ability to provide more of it, there are countries that have loudly expressed their support for Ukraine and condemned the war, and demanded that Moscow withdraw its forces from independent and sovereign Ukraine, and Egypt is one of the few countries on the African continent that supported the United Nations General Assembly resolutions in favor of Ukraine, and Egypt was not her happy memories.
The minister talked about his memories in Egypt, and said: I have beautiful memories, especially in Egypt. My father was a diplomat and was appointed as an ambassador in Cairo when I was a child. I spent a lot of time in Egypt when I was a child. I have warm memories of the Egyptian people, their culture, the Zamalek region, the pyramids and the Nile. Today, I see Egypt as a strong and undisputed regional leader, and we are waiting for more humanitarian assistance from Cairo, especially with regard to medicines and medical equipment, and I thank Egypt for its mediation efforts on the war, during these darkest times in our history.
He stressed that the Russian soldiers had been hit with huge doses of radiation while they were in the “Chernobyl” area, which proves how little the Russians care about nuclear safety and the life of their forces.
Honestly, I doubt their success, after being exposed to lethal doses of radiation, and we don’t know what kind of military leaders would issue such orders.
On the possibility of President Zelensky meeting his Russian counterpart, he said that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is ready to hold direct talks with President Putin, when the latter is ready to accept reality and drop unrealistic plans to achieve a military victory and stop his war against Ukraine.