Ukraine: Russian sanctions ‘only just started working’ says Rudik

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Peace in Ukraine is only possible when Vladimir Putin “can no longer afford the war” and “political change in Russia becomes necessary”, a leading Ukrainian MP has claimed. Kira Rudik, an opposition politician, told Express.co.uk that sanctions placed on Russia had only started to “really hit their economy” in December but that they were now “losing money”. While there is “no organisation able to step up” and offer security guarantees against Russia invading again, she claimed the economic crippling of Russia and the total “restoration of Ukraine’s sovereignty” through pushing Putin’s Armed Forces back to the 1991 borders, including Crimea, was the only means of ending the war.

In the first weeks of 2023, NATO began to pledge equipment with more offensive capabilities in what Ukraine’s foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba branded the “end of the weapons taboo”.

As the situation in Ukraine stretches into its second calendar year, the anniversary just over a month away, the conflict has now definitively entered its middle game; the new year has brought in the transition from the western defence of Ukraine to the offence against Russia.

The Ramstein meeting of allied defence ministers on January 20 will likely represent the pinnacle of this next stage, with a new German defence minister possibly more willing to grant Ukraine the Leopard 2 main battle tanks it has so emphatically requested.

Britain, meanwhile, has already promised a company of Challenger 2 tanks, the Leopard’s sister vehicle, and the US is preparing to train Ukrainians in how to use the world-renowned Patriot air defence systems to put an end to the Russian destruction of its critical energy infrastructure.

But the endgame of the war remains unclear, too early is it to categorically understand the trajectory of territorial disputes along the frontline.

And Ms Rudik was quick to broach this dilemma when she spoke of the inability to hold peace negotiations without “security guarantees”.

While sitting atop a diesel-fuelled generator powering her computer during an energy blackout, she said the prevailing sentiment among the adult population in Ukraine is to ensure the next generation do not inherit the burden of a looming Russia.

“We owe it to our children that they do not have to fight this war,” she said. “It needs to finish with our generation and this is our goal, to make sure our nation does not go through this again.”

Her comments speak to the overarching geopolitical problem presented by this war, that of Russia’s continual anti-Western stance, and, in turn, the need for Vladimir Putin to be the final incarnation of that hostile sentiment. Such a problem might not be new but the importance of finding a solution has never been so pressing; the hundreds of thousands of people dying needlessly at war is proof of that.

She said: “How would we know that Russia would not attack us again tomorrow, in three years, in five years, or in 10 years?

“As of right now, with all the support and all the discussions and all the statements, we do not see that there is anybody, any organisation, that would be able to step up and say, ‘We will take the obligation to make sure that Russia will not attack you again’.

“Because we do not have this, peaceful negotiations are not possible. Why should they even happen?”

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She added: “This is why we need to focus now on using our power and momentum to take back our territories and restore our sovereignty.

“Secondly, we need to have the sanctions working for longer because the sanctions that started really hitting Russia’s economy only started working in early December.

“Right now Russia is losing money – before December we had to survive – so we need to wait longer until they are weakened. We need to keep going until they cannot afford the war and there must be a political change in Russia.”

Ms Rudik’s sentiment is clear: there is no such thing as an amiable Russia. Peace in Ukraine, and by extension peace in Europe, is only possible when Vladmir Putin’s nation is incapable of being a global threat.

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