BY SAEED NAQVI
“Complete surrender of the Ukrainian armed forces is the only formula for peace,” Advisor to President Putin, Valery Fadeyev said in the course of an hour long conversation on zoom.
Is this not an invitation to the West to keep pumping advanced weapons and cash into the country so that Ukrainians can bleed Russia “exactly as the US bled you in Afghanistan?” Fadeyev thought the comparison with Afghanistan was erroneous. “The Soviet war in Afghanistan lasted 10 years. At the end all major equipment and weapons of Soviet army were taken back home. It was not a military decision; it was a political decision.” After a pause: “I think it was a wrong decision.”
You seem to suggest the Ukrainian war could last for years? Fadeyev: “I didn’t say that this conflict can last for years. The conflict with the West can last for years, but this special operation in Ukraine will likely end soon.”
Fadeyev said Putin had elevated his May 9, Victory Day speech, to a high plane with a purpose: Putin and Russian ruling elite are dismayed at the way West was trying to belittle and erase the memory of the sacrifice twenty six million Russians made without which the war with Hitler would have been lost.
Indeed, they were equating Nazism with the former Soviet Union, he said. “There is a very deep and harmful idea being promoted by the West: It compares Hitler’s Germany to Soviet Russia.” Fadeyev added “And now see how these harmful ideas of the West have found a working laboratory in Ukraine.” His case is that “a part of the Ukrainian population was already poisoned with this idea and the other part, while turning its back on the Soviet Union, was developing an amnesia about our history. That Russian and the Ukrainian people fought against fascist Germany together.” The perplexing cocktail of Nazi nationalism led by Volodymyr Zelensky who happens to be a Jew taxes credulity. Equally puzzling is the fact that Israeli mercenaries are fighting alongside the Nazi nationalists in Mariupol and Azovstal steel plant.
When asked if a Canadian General and French officers were among those holed up in the steel plant, Fadeyev said “I fully accept the importance of this question but cannot comment on French officers.” In recent days President Emmanuel Macron has been frequently talking with Putin. Is Macron nervous that revelations of French military participation in the war would affect the outcome of the elections to the National Assembly in June? France’s Left parties have joined hands. If they win the majority in the House, Macron will be a Lame Duck President. How can Putin help Macron?
What is the mystery of the Azov steel plant in Mariupol? “I don’t see any big secret behind this. There is a huge concentration of Nazi nationalist forces, mainly the Azov battalion in the steel plant hiding in the Soviet time tunnels. These battalions are highly motivated. They study Nazi literature, follow fascist ideology and worship Hitler.”
There are two reasons why Azov battalion and its handful of Western advisers are not coming out of the steel plant: First, because they are hoping that mercenaries from third countries will come to their aid. Also, this battalion is afraid that they will have to face military war crimes tribunals.
Asked to respond to US Secretary of Defence, Gen. Lloyd Austin finally declaring US war aims, (We want to weaken Russia.) Fadeyev said, “Putin had talked about exactly this at the Security Conference in Munich on February 10th, 2007. He had said the West wants to weaken Russia.” Austin’s statement was no revelation. In fact Putin’s mind moved on a different track. “In the 90 as well as in 2000s, Putin openly declared that he was ready to cooperate and integrate with Europe. He announced several far reaching economic projects. He even expressed Russia’s desire to be part of NATO. On all our proposals we received refusals from the West. They never understood that Russia has genuine security concerns.”
Fadeyev said he himself had served in special rocket battalion. “The flight time of a ballistic missile from Kharkiv to Moscow is five minutes. And today the West is arming Ukraine to the teeth. Everyone blames the US military industrial complex being obsessed with the Russian enemy: but in reality the entire US ruling class sees us as an enemy”.
On long time effects of the war Fadeyev turned the tables. He said sanctions on Russia were actually hurting Europe more. “Weakening of Europe is in the interest of America.” Americans have been against European proposals for 30 years to build a European army outside NATO.
With the collapse of the Soviet Union the West had hoped that Russia would cease to exist as a great power. The reemergence of Russia with the help of friends who do not want Western hegemony, is unacceptable to the West. “In this geopolitical confrontation between China and the US, the Russian role will be critical for our friends.” Hence the US desire to contain Russia by igniting the Ukraine war.
Once the dust settles on the war, what will its effect be on the new international order?
“Pay attention to the fact that countries where 2/3rd of the population are not supporting sanctions on Russia despite heavy pressure from the West and the US on these countries. This is the clear divide between the West and the majority of the world and leaders of countries who have a memory of Colonial times and know how Western powers exploited them.” This will be the new post Ukraine war fault line.
He brushed off questions on President Putin’s health as “malicious rumours”.
The Ukraine story will certainly take a turn once the identity of senior Western officials, generals and mercenary groups at Azovstal steel plant are revealed over next few days. World War II yielded great escape stories. Entebbe operation by the Israelis still resonates. What plots are being hatched to extricate priceless Ukrainian assets from the steel plant? Screenplay writers are rubbing their hands.
(Saeed Naqvi is a senior Indian journalist, television commentator, interviewer, and a Distinguished Fellow at Observer Research Foundation. Mr. Naqvi is also a mentor and a guest blogger with Canary Trap)
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Photo Courtesy: Twitter Account of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia