Europeans should be grateful that Ukrainians are willing to fight Russia and perish on the battlefield on their behalf, President Vladimir Zelensky’s senior adviser, Mikhail Podoliak, has said. His comments came after Zelensky slammed NATO members for not providing his country with an accession roadmap during last week’s summit in Vilnius, Lithuania.
“Europe is lucky that there is a country like Ukraine, which is ready to defend the common European way of life – dominated by competition, democracy, freedom, and so on – with the lives [of its soldiers],” Podoliak told Baltic news outlet Delfi on Friday, insisting that Russia “wants to drag all of us into a classic Soviet [prison] camp.”
Western politicians and experts who argue for reopening negotiations with Moscow are “stuck in the past,” Podoliak said. Zelensky’s adviser praised Finnish Foreign Minister Elina Valtonen, who recently told the Financial Times that Western aid to Kiev is “not charity.”
“They are fighting for our liberty and the European security architecture,” Valtonen said.
The West’s determination to help Ukraine was called into question after, despite repeated pleas from Kiev, the country was denied immediate NATO membership and not provided with a concrete accession timetable. Zelensky voiced his indignation on Twitter last week, saying that it is “unprecedented and absurd” not to invite Ukraine to join the US-led military bloc.
Western officials have hit back at Ukraine over its criticism of the pace of weapons deliveries and other military assistance. UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said that his country is “not Amazon” to be handed down a list of desired weapons, adding that “people want to see a bit of gratitude.”
The gathering in Lithuania took place as Ukraine’s much-anticipated offensive, launched last month, failed to penetrate Russian defense lines, with Ukrainian soldiers struggling to pass through minefields and fortified positions.