kyiv is successfully defending itself, but what about the rest of Ukraine?
Currently, our priority is the militia. These are people who have never had combat experience, but who are very motivated because they are defending the future of our country. Their motivation is huge. We are currently thinking of mobilizing.
I would like to thank all the countries that help us with their military and humanitarian aid. The whole world sees what Russia is doing here. As a former soldier, I will tell you that there are very important weapons in every war, but the will and the motivation are even more important. The Ukrainian army has been successfully defending our cities for more than fifty days. He is able to withstand one of the largest armies in the world. It’s because Russian soldiers fight for money. They are paid by the Russian government, but our soldiers are fighting for our future, for the future of their children.
We will be back the morning of February 24. What came to your mind first?
Nothing new. I have already said that kyiv is still the target of Russian aggression.
I call on all those who want to return to Kyiv to take good care of themselves, as they return at their own risk. It might be good to wait a bit and not come back. The risk is too high.
I would like to thank everyone who helps us, including the Czech government, for supporting Ukraine. Its very important for us. I have this message for you: we are not only defending ourselves, we are also defending you, you, your children, your future, your projects and the values that are common. In Donetsk and Luhansk, we see how devastating Russia’s plans are. They won’t stop, they don’t want to occupy only Ukraine. Where will it stop? On the border with Poland or Germany?
Do you think Russia will go further in Europe?
Certainly if we lose. But we’ll never lose, we’d rather die than give up. It’s no secret that they (the Russians) want to restore the Soviet Empire. If you remember, Czechoslovakia was part of the Soviet Union. If they want to restore this empire, then this evil idea is still alive.
What would you say to the people of eastern Ukraine?
It’s a bloody, goddamn, useless war. I don’t think we should have given up our nuclear weapons in 1994. At that time, Russia guaranteed us our independence and our territorial integrity. But we don’t trust the Russians. I say to everyone: do not believe the Russians. We do not know the scale of the ambitions and plans of the Russians, but we are certainly not only defending our country, but peace throughout Europe.
What do you think of Ukraine’s neutrality and its efforts to join NATO?
My personal opinion is that Ukraine has always been a peaceful country. Giving up the possibility of being a member of NATO would, in my view, be a mistake. The defense in this defensive union is much more effective. Of course, we thank everyone for the arms supply, but I still think Ukraine’s neutrality status was a mistake. And now you see what happens.
We know that several mayors of towns and villages in the Kyiv region have been kidnapped. How do you feel? Do you feel safe?
No, I don’t feel safe. No Ukrainian, no Ukrainian out of a total population of 40 million can feel safe. The Russian government wants to destroy the government in Ukraine, and autonomy is the basis of the state, that’s why they (the Russians) removed mayors, like the mayor of Hostomel. But they also abducted doctors, aid workers, and then shot them. The Russians say it’s a war with the Ukrainian army, but that’s a lie. Buča, Hostomel, Irpin – these are good examples of the fact that this is a war against the Ukrainian population. It is genocide.
This is a great tragedy not only for the Ukrainian people, but for all of Europe. And also, and the Russians do not understand this yet, it is also a great tragedy for the Russian people, because twenty thousand Russians have already perished in Ukraine. This is more than during the ten years of operations in Afghanistan and also during the two Chechen wars. It is the biggest war in Europe after the Second World War.
Are the sanctions imposed on Russia?
Sanctions are an effective tool. But I would like to tell everyone to stop trading with Russia. Any business, any business with Russia is a bad thing. Every euro and every penny you give to Russia will not go to the Russian economy, but to the Russian military. Then we see the terrible images of Hostomel or Buč. This money will become blood, and it will be Ukrainian blood.
I would like to say to all journalists: it is good that you are here, that you are reporting on the destruction of kyiv, on the number of civilian deaths. But I wish there were more journalists in Mariupol, Kramatorsk, Kharkov, Chernihiv, so the world could see how these cities are completely destroyed. For example, in Mariupol, 90% of buildings are destroyed, in Kharkov and Chernihiv, about 50%. It is a genocide of the Ukrainian people, it is not a war against the Ukrainian army.
Have you ever doubted that kyiv can defend itself?
We simply have no choice. We do not want to live in a country where human rights are not guaranteed, where no principle applies. We don’t want to live in a dictatorial country, and that’s what’s happening in the Russian Federation. We want to live as members of the European democratic family.
We will win together. Everyone in Europe should understand that we are not just protecting our country, we are defending you. We cannot know how deeply evil ideas have taken root in the heads of Kremlin officials. Remember that there is no neutral position in this war. You must be active.
I also want to thank you for accepting refugees from Ukraine. It will make it clear who our friend is and we will never forget it. We have common values - we, the Czech Republic and all of Europe. Please stand with Ukraine. We will stop the war, we will bring peace to Ukraine, but we don’t know how long it will take – days, weeks, months, I hope not years. But we continue to defend the future of our families and our children.