“Currently Ukraine has one of the largest armies in the world. Our country would strengthen NATO,” says Kira Rudik, Ukrainian parliamentarian and chairwoman of the Glos party, in an interview with Against The Tide TV. Asked whether it is possible for Ukraine to join NATO this year or next, she said yes. In the interview, Kira Rudik also talked about the challenge of diplomacy to stop China from supporting Russia on a full scale, as well as the situation of the Ukrainian military, which needs more ammunition and equipment. “We are extremely grateful for the help we receive,” “we are begging allies for fighter jets,” stressed the Ukrainian MP. Asked if the Ukrainian people would survive this difficult situation, she replied: “There is a certain fuel that drives us. This fuel is hope. We still have her.”
WATCH THE INTERVIEW WITH KIRA RUDIK:
Hanna Jazgarska: Hello. This is against the Tide TV. My name is Hanna Jazgarska, and my guest today is Mrs. Kira Rudik, a member of the Ukrainian parliament and the leader of the political party “Glos”. Hello, Mrs. Rudik. This is a pleasure for us to have you again on our TV.
Kira Rudik: Hello, Hannah. Thank you so much for having me. It’s a pleasure being here.
The first topic that I would like to discuss with you is that nowadays, there is a lot of discussion about Ukraine’s ascension to NATO. So, in the light of that, what do you expect from the upcoming summit of NATO members?
Well, first of all, I think it’s a good time to remind everyone that the aim to join EU and NATO is written in the Ukrainian constitution. This is the will of Ukrainian people. And we as politicians just execute on this will. So, of course we need to push for our goals and the expectations from this summit are very high. We hear many skeptics saying that it is impossible for Ukraine to join NATO while the full scale war is taking place. But there are others saying that Ukrainian membership in NATO is the only way to receive the security guarantees that we need to make sure that Putin would not attack us again after we win the war. So of course, our aim and our high end goal for the new summit would be either to receive an invitation to join NATO or to have the paths that everybody would agree on how we will become a member. Recently, Jens Stoltenberg visited Kiev and he made that pretty bold statement saying that all NATO members agree that Ukraine needs to become a part of NATO. However, we need to see further steps on when it’s going to happen. And this is why the expectations for the summit are very high. First of all, I really liked what President Zelensky said in an answer to Ian Stoltenberg’s invitation for himself to visit Vilnius in June. He said, “I will go but I want the invitation to be sent to my country as well.” And if you remember Ukraine’s history, Vilnius was a place where the previous president, Yanukovich, decided to turn the country around and decided to turn the country off joining the EU. And this has cost him his presidency and started the revolution. We hope that Vilnius will now become a place where we will get our future and we are looking forward to having this summit.
Do you think it is possible for Ukraine to become a member of NATO this or next year?
Yes, I do. We understand that it is not a bureaucratic question. It is a political question. Right now, Ukraine has one of the largest armies in the whole world and definitely largest in Europe. We are working according to NATO protocols. We are also working according to NATO standards and we are working with and fighting with NATO weapons. So we are something that would make NATO stronger and we need just to figure out a proper way of us joining the union.
Mrs. Rudik, nowadays Western countries are trying to help Ukraine to the best of their possibilities. However, there is a discussion between some countries on the extent of this help and how do you assess this lack of unity in Western European countries on the transfer of arms and ammunition to Ukraine?
Well, first of all, we are extremely grateful for the help that we are receiving. We would not be able to fight the Russians if not for the help of our Western allies. I want to make it very clear: the bravery and the willingness to protect your country is not enough if you are facing your enemy empty-handed. However, of course, we need to speed up the logistics and the amount of weapons that we are receiving. We are still fighting against one of the largest and strongest armies in the world with the amount of the military production that they can allow themselves still to not to count on the missiles that they are sending our way, not count on their weapons and supplies and even human lives that they’re sparing. We cannot work like this. We cannot fight like it. But we also cannot hope that the motivation and the bravery of our soldiers will compensate for the lack of weapons and supplies. There is a huge difference between the amounts of the capacities that we have. People at the front report that for one showed that Ukrainian artillery can do, the Russians can do ten shots. And you can imagine how terrifying and how hard it is to fight with these amounts.
Let’s move to more international but particular affairs. Lately we’ve seen the president of France, Emmanuel Macron, visit China and talk to the Chinese leader Xi Jinping. And we’ve also seen the talks of President Volodymyr Zelensky to Xi Jinping. And do you think this is a good way to end the war?
First of all, we all understand that China could play a crucial role in the way that the war would end. Since the beginning of a full scale invasion China is the only country of the really dominating ones that did not make a clear statement that this is a war of aggression from the Russian Federation. And they still are calling the war a Ukrainian conflict, which of course is not the proper way to address it. Second, since the beginning of full scale invasion, China was the country that opened their markets to Russia, and is still a major player in buying Russian gas and oil, helping Russia to overcome the sanctions. Also, there are suspicions that China may be supplying a specific path for Russia to continue the military production, but not supplying the weapons just yet. And of course, all Democratic leaders are seeing China as a really strong part that they can become at some point in the war. So their goal the Democratic leadership has right now is to make sure that, first of all, at least China would not be supplying Russia with weapons, but generally that they can put a pressure on Russia to end the war and to restore Ukraine at our sovereign borders. We understand that it is extremely complicated. China is not playing anybody’s hand. They usually play their own hand and this is why they will be doing what is necessary for themselves. The call that President Xi and President Zelensky had was, we think, a good sign because the result of this call was that Ukraine now is sending the ambassador to China. We did not have an ambassador for a while there. And China is sending their representative to Ukraine to get to know more about the war. However, we understand that we are at the beginning of a really, really long path. As for the European discussions with China, well, first of all, we see that there is an attempt to address China’s concerns, but also there is an attempt to call China just to take sides. And it’s not the side of Russia or Ukraine, it sides on whether you are obeying international laws and the fact that they should be obeyed or you are not, or you agree that a larger country can attack a smaller one and just do whatever they want. And I think that will also be a historical decision for China. But they will try not to make it for as long as it would be possible. So right now, we are in a complicated diplomatic situation where we would have to work all together to make sure that we do not push China away, but also that we will not push them to deliver weapons to Russia. It would be critical. On the personal load, of course, we in Ukraine were absolutely shocked with the statements that a Chinese ambassador to France said recently, saying that as the Soviet Union collapsed, both Soviet countries did not have like a real confirmation of their sovereignty, which actually not only calls about Ukraine, it calls about Greece, while Lithuania, Estonia. And how is it even possible that the diplomat can make a statement like that. But it could be something that is also showing us another side of the Chinese view of the world, that there is a place where Russia could still have their influence and that it would be okay to go with it. So I do hope that the diplomatic attempts to hold China off supporting Russia in full scale would be successful.
Let’s talk a little bit about what is going on the battlefield when it comes to what might happen on the battlefield further in during the war and how. What do you expect in the nearest days in terms of the U.S. support and the Ukrainian counterattack?
Well, we are still waiting for the final deliveries of the Western weapons to the front. Another factor that we need to count in preparation of the counter offense is weather. It was just like one month ago when there was snow in Kiev. And this is why you can imagine that the spring of this year is very late. And this has a huge influence on the ability of the troops to move. We are still in the period of rains and there is lots of mud outside. And I cannot even imagine how the weather looks at the battlefield. But I can predict that it’s much better. So this is why these two points are crucial items in preparation for their spring counter offense. We, of course, are trying not to comment anything on tactical and strategic moves that our army would have, until they do it, and our only way right now is to make sure that they get all the support that they need from us, that they need all kinds of weapons, supplies, ammunition, a spring uniform, anything that they may need. And we are working hard to make sure to deliver it to them.
And could you tell us a little bit more about how the Ukrainian nation is feeling? Will the Ukrainian people endure the situation of increasing fatigue and decreasing aid from other countries?
Well, you know, there is a fuel we are running on, and this fuel is hope. And we still have it. We have survived one of the most complicated winters for ourselves since, I don’t know, since the beginning of times. And we are very happy that we were able to make it. We understand that the war may take longer and Putin will be playing a war of attrition. And we need to gather our grit to him to move forward with the same intensity as we were doing before. It’s not news for us that the emotional support may dim. We have seen it in 2014, when the war in Ukraine became a new normal for the world very quickly. But we also understand that right now the situation is different, that the whole world started seeing what we have told everyone for a long time, that Putin is an aggressor, Russia is a country aggressor. There is no ability to appease the aggressor because it will just move forward and forward. And this is why we do hope that the international community will stay with us for a little bit longer and just for us to go through the counter offense and push as hard as possible and as far as possible to regain our territories till the end of this year.
Mrs. Rudik, the last question from me today to you is what would you most like to appeal to Western countries for?
It’s been a year and two months since we have started begging our allies to provide us with the fighter jets, fighter jets that will allow us to fight better in the front and give our military protection from the sky, but also something that will add an additional layer of protection to our peaceful cities. You know, it’s still every other day we’re getting air raid sirens and have to hide in the basements because Russia launches airstrikes against our cities. And you never know when you’re going to bed or if you are going to wake up in the morning. It was just a couple of months ago when they launched an attack on the city of Dnipro, where they killed 46 people in their beds. And this is something that can happen every other day. This is why we need fighter jets. We need an ability to protect our skies. And it’s incredibly hurtful that in a year and two months we were not able to get this call to our allies to make them realize how important and crucial that is. We do hope that at some point we will receive them, because, you know, so many people did not believe that we would receive the Patriot missile systems, then not too many people believe that we would receive the tanks and the tank coalition would be formed. And so right now our goal is fighter jets. And we are doing everything in information and diplomatic direction to get them to Ukraine.
Mrs. Rudik, thank you so much for this conversation. Of course, we’ll do what we can to spread the word as widely as possible. My guest was Mrs. Kira Rudik, a member of the Ukrainian parliament and the leader of the political party “Glos.”Thank you so much for taking your time.
Thank you so much. And glory to Ukraine.