Exclusive by Clarissa Ward, Brent Swails and Jack Guy, NCS

Ukraine “will not allow anyone to impose any concessions on us” as a part of efforts to de-escalate the threat of conflict with Russia, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba informed NCS in an unique interview Tuesday.

Kuleba emphasised that the nation would not settle for any compromises aimed toward placating Russian President Vladimir Putin, amid fears Russia may be planning to invade Ukraine — one thing Moscow denies.

“If anyone makes a concession on Ukraine, behind Ukraine’s back, first, we will not accept that. We will not be in the position of the country that picks up the phone, hears the instruction of the big power and follows it,” mentioned Kuleba.

“We paid a lot — including 15,000 lives of our citizens — to secure the right to decide our own future, our own destiny,” he insisted.

Ukraine has warned that Russia is making an attempt to destabilize the nation forward of any deliberate navy invasion. Western powers have repeatedly warned Russia towards additional aggressive strikes towards Ukraine.

The Kremlin denies it’s planning to assault and argues that NATO assist for Ukraine — together with elevated weapons provides and navy coaching — constitutes a rising menace on Russia’s western flank.

Kuleba mentioned he has no doubts in regards to the US’s dedication to defending Ukraine, regardless of feedback from President Joe Biden suggesting that a “minor incursion” by Russian troops might not lead to a severe response from the NATO military alliance.

“First, President Biden is personally committed to Ukraine. He knows this country, and he doesn’t want Russia to destroy it,” mentioned Kuleba.

“Second, we heard from those US officials, speaking openly to the media, but also speaking to me and to other Ukrainian officials directly on the phone, that the United States will remain absolutely committed to slashing Russia if any type of incursion, invasion, interference takes place,” he added.

‘We have to be strong’

Kuleba known as the US’s plan to cut back workers ranges at its embassy in Kyiv, starting with the departure of nonessential workers and members of the family, “premature.”

He mentioned he revered each nation’s proper to defend its residents, however added that an evacuation “spreads panic” and performs into Putin’s intention “to destabilize Ukraine from the inside and to make us weaker without resorting to military force.”

The minister mentioned the US was “definitely not” overstating the menace from Russia.

On Monday round 8,500 US troops had been placed on heightened alert for possible deployment to Eastern Europe.

Kuleba praised the choice and rejected options that the transfer may anger Putin and escalate the disaster additional.

“If we learned anything since 2014, it’s that it’s flawed logic to handle President Putin from the perspective: ‘Let’s do nothing in order not to make him angry.’ This is not how it works,” he mentioned. “Strength, resolve, deterrence; these are the three elements that work with Putin, he respects strength, this is the fact.”

In March 2014, Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula.

“We have to be smart, we have to be reasonable, but we have to be strong,” mentioned Kuleba. “If he feels the slightest signs of weakness, it will only prompt him to further escalate and to resort to war. And that’s what we have to avoid.”

‘Space for diplomacy’

Kuleba believes Putin has “shot himself in the foot” with the troop build-up, including that there’s little or no Moscow can achieve from the present scenario that will save face.

“He put himself in this situation, no one else pushed him in that deadlock,” Kuleba mentioned. “The set of demands put forward by Russia is designed in a way that if Russia is willing to act in good faith, there is a possibility to walk out of the negotiating room and say we made a deal.”

Russia has requested the US and NATO for sure safety ensures, together with binding pledges that NATO gained’t admit Ukraine or develop additional east. Putin has emphasised that these demands are not an “ultimatum,” and Kuleba believes Russia is keen to speak.

“There is a space for diplomacy,” he mentioned.

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