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“I will be the happiest ambassador if …”: Kyiv envoy to techlives over Russia war

“There were many miscalculations of the Russian command, of the Russian propaganda …” the envoy said

New Delhi:

The Ukraine war was the result of a “very miscalculation of Russian propaganda”, Kyiv’s Ambassador to India Igor Polikha said today as the Russian invasion completed one month. He also said he would be the “happiest ambassador” if India’s position moved closer to Ukraine.

“It’s like World War II when Nazis were destroying towns, villages, hospitals, everything,” Igor Polikha told techlives in an exclusive interview.

On India’s difficult balance over the war in Ukraine, the ambassador said he appreciated New Delhi’s moves, including the abstinence from the UN yesterday over a Russian resolution on the “humanitarian crisis in Ukraine”.

“Yesterday’s vote in the UN was moved by Russia. India was with 12 members of the UN Security Council, who abstained. Russia got only one supporter – China,” Mr Polika said.

He also praised Foreign Minister S Jaishankar’s statement on India’s humanitarian aid to Ukraine.

At the same time, he also pointed to US President Joe Biden’s remark about India’s “shaky” response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, compared to other Washington allies.

“I understand the essentials of India’s foreign policy deeply. As an Indologist, I can understand many official and unofficial things. As an ambassador, it is my duty to advance our position. I can not comment as a ambassador, “he said cautiously.

But if India were to take a stronger position against the Russian war, he said, he would be the “happiest”.

“I will be the happiest ambassador if India’s position moves more and more towards Ukraine,” said the envoy, who calls himself an Indophile.

The war “really caused incredible mental tension for all of us,” the ambassador said.

Mr Polikha said his daughter, who lives in the Ukrainian capital Kiev, came close to Russian shelters just 200 meters away. “It took me two days to get her. She was completely shocked,” the ambassador said.

He also said family members and friends in other parts of Ukraine, especially the east and north, were spending “a lot of time hiding from shelters”.

“I, my wife, people from my embassy … we are scared … we start every morning to look and check again how our family, dearest friends are, what happened to them, what is their psychological mood and so on. “

Mr Polikha said no one, not least the Russians, expected the war to go that far. The Russians did not even disclose the number of military casualties, he said, claiming that more than 10,000 Russian soldiers had died in the war – “according to the most conservative estimates”.

“The Russians were sure that the war would end in four days,” he said.

“There were many miscalculations of the Russian command, of the Russian propaganda … The top leadership of Russia was sure that everything would end in a few days. According to their propaganda, they were told that the Russian army would be welcomed at every turn. be with flowers, everywhere there will be ‘swagatam samitis“(welcoming committees),” the Ukrainian envoy said.

The Russians also did not expect President Volodymyr Zelensky to become a rallying point, he agreed.

“Zelensky has extensive reserves of internal power. There is a very cynical joke – you know the background of our president – he was a comedian. But after the beginning of the war many began to say that the war in Ukraine showed that a comedian is a political leader and unfortunately many political leaders have become comedians, ”Mr Polikha remarked.

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