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Russia’s pernicious influence on Ukraine’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations through hybrid actions

Interview of Political Expert Mykola Volkivskyi, President of The First International Ukrainian Foundation of Development.

Russia was not lazy to organize another hysterical campaign in the media. We have heard accusations, threats, and ambiguous appeals. How can you comment on the results of the meeting of the Presidents, given such controversy in Russia?

The meeting of the Presidents of the United States and Ukraine became a resonant topic and was discussed for a long time on the federal TV channel of the Russian Federation to downplay the leaders’ talks and discredit the Ukrainian side. The explosion of emotions and the appearance of chauvinistic experts in the studios is caused, in our opinion, by the publication of a statement on strategic partnership and guarantees that provide investment in the Ukrainian economy, further support of the armed forces, and targeted pressure on the annexed Crimea, which Moscow involuntarily succeeded due to the actualization of the topic of aggravation of the situation in Donbas, military exercises, etc. These are very painful and frightening topics for the Kremlin because Ukraine is not left alone with Russia.

What can you say about Russian threats to diplomats, ministers, and presidents who took part in the Crimean platform and signed a joint declaration?

The situation for Russia, has become significant: the construction of the Nord Stream does not mean that new sanctions will not come from Germany, or that once fully friendly countries will support Putin’s policy. Now a cohort of neighbors and recent partners has openly called on Russia to end the illegal militarization of the occupied territories, the appropriation of the Sea of Azov, aggressive actions in the Black Sea, the importation of nuclear weapons into Crimea, and more.

Kyiv’s position is clear, and so is President Zelensky’s goal. But what can foreign countries do, and what problems do ordinary people in the annexed Crimea and Sevastopol face today?

Non-admission of international organizations to Crimea complicates the monitoring of the real situation and does not contribute to assistance in ensuring human rights and freedoms, which are systematically violated by the illegitimate authorities, especially concerning the indigenous peoples of Crimea and political activists. As the UN General Assembly overwhelmingly supported the resolution on the need to preserve the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine, today’s actions of intimidation of foreign delegations and countries by Russia seem threatening facts. Countries may exert systematic pressure on Moscow to end repression against ordinary citizens and prevent future war crimes. A clear stance against the deployment of nuclear weapons on the peninsula, aggressive and reconnaissance operations in the seas – are the common principles that can be followed.

What methods of hybrid aggression does Russia prefer to the latter?

The security and future of our state are based on a free market, investment and capital, impeccable law enforcement and judicial systems, the absence of corruption in all areas.

It is the fight against these postulates that is the purpose of hybrid aggression by the Russian Federation. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Ukraine was a leader in industrial potential in the post-Soviet space. One of the world’s largest logistics transport companies – the Black Sea Shipping Company (Odesa) had more than 300 pennants. The company is currently bankrupt, with one pennant on its balance sheet. We know that the biggest beneficiary of the BSSC is a citizen of Ukraine Urbanskyi Igor, who in violation of the UN Security Council sanctions (agreement on non-proliferation of missile technology) is involved in the illegal transportation of cruise missiles to Iran and China; tanks and missile weapons in the hot spots of the world. Together with his partners, he had a stake in the State Company Rostech (RT-Logistics) in the Russian Federation. To date, this logistics oligarch has relocated his business to Russia.

Today, the unique Vessel Ocean Force is arriving under arrest in U.S. territorial waters.

The sale of a unique vessel for fictitious debts is a real example of hybrid Russian aggression against Ukraine, which is being carried out by a Ukrainian citizen.

What about the military demonstration of the power of the Russian Armed Forces and Belarus? What measures will the Kremlin take to defend its actions?

The Kremlin has received a yellow card warning of the readiness for further action that could ultimately undermine internal stability, not to mention the economic side of the issue. The promotion of the Crimea issue may be the reason for the statement of the red card, which will undermine the Russian economy and bring Russian society to an unforeseen level of tension. Putin is very afraid of this, so he tries his best to stop the process: information attacks, diplomatic notes of protest, lawsuits against Ukraine (to prolong the process), preparation of hybrid actions with Belarus, etc.

Of course, and what then causes the greatest criticism of Russia in the actions of Ukraine? What is most annoying about Russia 24?

They interfere everywhere and naturally, the question arises: at what rates Moscow can stop? I believe that today the Putin regime is losing both control and a sound assessment of reality. He speaks of a desire for self-preservation at all costs, but expansionist actions affect even their closest allies. In the absence of red lines in the Russians, their provocations may one day have disastrous consequences for all.

We have recently seen staff rotations, and there are some wishes for a change of government in Russia. What do you think is the essence of modern Russia’s policy in essence?

They are not rational and unpredictable, and attempts at a diplomatic settlement of all issues have failed, so we should expect tougher measures from the EU and the US and therefore prepare for Moscow’s asymmetric responses to them. Russia is ruled by fear and desire for the former level of influence, but the world will not make concessions.

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