As the Israeli–Palestinian conflict entered a new phase in October, the global media seem to be paying less attention to the Russo–Ukrainian war that has been raging on the periphery of Europe for more than a year and a half now. The Ukrainian leadership is taking this neglect particularly badly, suggests an interview with Andrii Yermak, the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s chief of staff, published by POLITICO.
In the interview, Yermak stated that it is unacceptable that some of Europe’s leaders and citizens are fatigued by the conflict in Ukraine. ‘Even if there are people who feel this fatigue, I’m sure they don’t want to wake up in a world tomorrow where there will be less freedom and less security,’ Yermak told the paper, repeating a standard talking point of the Ukrainian leadership,
which suggests that Ukraine is basically protecting Europeans from perdition.
It is no coincidence that war fatigue was mentioned, as Russian prank callers recently extracted a statement to that effect from Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni. ‘The moment is approaching when everyone will understand that we need a way out’, Meloni said then.
Yermak drew a historical parallel between the current situation of his country and the Second World War: had the British been ‘fatigued’ by the Poles in 1939, Poland would not exist today, he said. (On a side note: The Poles indeed had to spend forty years behind the Iron Curtain after the Second World War, to which the leaders of the UK agreed.)
The Ukrainian politician stressed that his country would not live in a frozen conflict, despite the Russians’ strong desire. However, that requires Western aid, and Ukraine must now compete with Israel for the attention of the international community. By the way: Yermak recently wrote an article for Israeli left-leaning paper Haaretz in which he explained that ‘the similarities of our tragedies [the tragedies of Ukraine and Israel, that is] are not accidental’, thus outlining a kind of common destiny between Ukraine and Israel.
According to Andrii Yermak, the common enemy is Iran (mind you,
the Islamic Republic is second only to Russia on the inglorious list of arch-villains,
at least in Yermak’s books), since a significant number of the drones involved in Russian drone attacks were made in Iran.
Zelensky’s aide was asked about the Ukraine’s EU accession as well. The country’s prospects depend largely on a report card to be published this week. ‘We are doing everything to make it happen’, Yermak said.
Andrii Yermak also talked about the fact that Ukraine was considered by many, including former European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, to be a very corrupt country. ‘I am categorically dismissing the statement that Ukraine is very corrupt’, said Andrii Yermak, who was, by the way, described in the article as a personal friend of Volodymyr Zelensky, and one of Ukraine’s most influential politicians.