Kiev, Odessa and Kharkov are Russian cities, the country’s former president has said
The removal of the Western-backed government of Vladimir Zelensky is an undeclared but a “most important and inevitable goal” of Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine, former President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev has said.
On Thursday, Medvedev, who now holds the position of deputy head of Russia’s Security Council, was asked by RIA-Novosti about the prospects of peace talks between Moscow and Kiev in 2024.
The Russian military operation in Ukraine will continue next year with its goals remaining unchanged, he replied.
According to the former president, those goals include “the disarmament of Ukrainian troops and the rejection of the ideology of neo-Nazism by the current Ukrainian state.”
“The removal of the ruling Banderovite regime isn’t being openly declared, but it’s the most important and inevitable goal that must and will be achieved,” he said, referring to the Zelensky government.
‘Banderovite’ relates to Stepan Bandera (1909-1959), a Ukrainian nationalist leader who collaborated with the Nazis during World War II and is now revered as a hero by authorities in Kiev.
“Odessa, Dnepropetrovsk, Kharkov, Nikolaev, Kiev, they are Russian cities, like many others under temporary occupation [by Ukraine]. All of them are marked in yellow and blue on paper maps and electronic tablets, for now,” Medvedev said.
About talks, they are “of course, possible,” he acknowledged, adding that “Russia never rejected them, unlike the insane Ukrainian authorities.” The former president stressed, however, that Moscow has no deadline for any negotiations and that these may proceed all the way until “the complete defeat and capitulation” of the NATO-backed Ukrainian forces.
On Wednesday, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that the authorities in Moscow “identify a lack of drive for peace on the part of the Zelensky regime. His representatives think in terms of war and use very aggressive rhetoric.”
The US and the EU remain committed to “containing Russia with the hands and bodies of Ukrainians” and realize that without aid from these sources the Kiev government “is doomed,” the minister said.
He also recalled that, more than a year ago, Zelensky officially banned himself from negotiating with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.
Instead, the Ukrainian leader has been promoting his so-called ten-point peace plan, which calls for Russia to withdraw from all territories claimed by Kiev, for Moscow to pay reparations, and for the formation of a war-crimes tribunal. Russian authorities instantly rejected the proposal as “unrealistic” and out-of-touch with the situation on the ground.