Russia declared war on Ukraine to seize its resources: former Polish FM

TVP World invited Poland’s former Foreign Minister and current MEP Witold Waszczykowski to ask for his opinion on the recent developments in Ukraine, including UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ visit to Kyiv — one that was followed by Russian shelling.

Mr Waszczykowski felt that the fact Russian leader Putin played “a cruel joke” by deciding to bomb Kyiv minutes after the meeting between Guterres and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. TVP World’s guest said such action proved Moscow’s determination “to totally destroy the Ukrainian state.”

Russia wants to Sovietise Ukraine

The veteran diplomat named two reasons for which Russia had started the war, with the first being economy. “Ukraine is a country rich in resources,” he said, adding that in order for Russia to rebuild the Soviet Union it needed to gain Ukraine’s resources, also human ones reaching nearly 50 million citizens.

The second reason, and to the mind of Mr Waszczykowski a much more important one, is that Russia cannot tolerate a “workable, successful” political system different from that of the Kremlin.

“Just like China cannot stand an alternative model of Taiwan, in the same way, Russia cannot accept an alternative model of development for the former Soviet Republic,” meaning Ukraine.

Mr Waszczykowski added also a third reason and one with racial undertones. “Russians cannot accept that Ukrainians created an independent state and an independent nation. They think that Ukrainians are… Russians speaking in a slightly different dialect but not a different language. They have a culture, which is some kind of alternative Russian culture,” he said, adding that Russia wanted to “kill any alternative on the territory of the former Soviet Union.”

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Lessons learned

TVP World’s guest went on to praise Ukrainians for their efficiency in defending their country, recalling that after losing Crimea and parts of Donbas in 2014 they had adopted a number of security reforms, spending “about 8 percent GDP per year for their security sector.”

“They’ve done their homework,” he said, adding that Ukrainians had been “prepared for the Russian aggression”.

Mr Waszczykowski stressed that if the West delivered weapons to Ukraine, its forces would “become even more successful not only in defending but also liberating some parts of its territory taken by Russians in the last two months.”

The plight of Ukrainian children

On the topic of Russia’s deportations of the Ukrainian population, Mr Waszczykowski said that such moves were part of Moscow’s war machine. “They are taking children… in their 19th-century fashion, when they were sending people from the European part of Russia, the part which consisted of territories taken from partitioned countries such as Poland. They [the Russians] were sending them to Syberia. They are using the same technique, the same tactic to relocate and deport people from Ukraine,” he said, adding that Russia’s goal was to “depopulate Ukraine because” a depopulated country “is easier to rule.”

“The biggest tragedy is that they are sending thousands of children which are in an illegal way adopted by Russian families,” Mr Waszczykowski said, adding that the Russian authorities were changing the Ukrainian children’s date of birth and their names too. TVP World’s guest supported his claim saying that he had recently met a group of Ukrainian activists at the European Parliament, who had shown him evidence “of this cruel procedure.”

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