Last week, President Zelensky made an important visit to the UK, France and Belgium. Meanwhile in Ukraine, the State Security Service (SBU) announced a suspicion of treason against Oleh Voloshyn, a people's deputy from the Opposition Platform – For Life (OPZZh).
Since Russia launched its large-scale aggression against Ukraine, the international diplomacy of official visits lost its parity. Leaders of foreign countries considered it an honor to visit Kyiv, while President Zelensky stayed put as defender in chief.
Zelensky’s first foreign visit during wartime took place in December 2022, with the U.S. the destination of choice. It was important to seek a real breakthrough in the supply of modern weapons to Ukraine.
A similar breakthrough, but already in the European direction, took place during Zelensky's visit last week to the UK, France and the de facto capital of the European Union (EU) – Brussels.
So, what did Zelensky bring back with him to Ukraine?
First, the Ukrainian delegation managed to agree with Western partners on receiving additional batches of weapons that are already being supplied to Ukraine, along with new types of weapons that have not yet been seen in our country.
To write about the amounts of weapons, the specific dates of their deliveries, and which weapons will be supplied to the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU), is a thankless task. All this information is public only in a small part, some of it is deliberately distorted, and some of it is not made public at all.
Only one thing is clear – we may be talking about additional batches of Leopard-1 and Leopard-2 tanks, medium-range cruise missiles and modern fighters.
Second, the visit of Zelensky is another step towards the development of a joint strategy for victory with Western partners.
Meetings with key European leaders – British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz – allowed the Ukrainian president to discuss not only current, extremely acute issues, but also the main features of the new post-war system of Europe, the world security system, the creation of a special tribunal to convict Russian President Vladimir Putin and other Russian war criminals, and Ukraine's participation in NATO.
Third, Zelensky took part in the summit of the EU, where all the heads of countries and governments of the union gathered.
This became a kind of continuation of the European narrative, which was set during the joint meeting of the European Commission and the Ukrainian government in Kyiv, and made it possible to once again to clearly discuss the orientations and criteria for the start of negotiations of Ukraine on its accession to the EU.
Finally, Europe received a shot in the arm for compassion-fatigue from Ukraine: Zelensky's speeches in the U.K. and European parliaments provided a powerful emotional charge. And the national leaders of the EU countries once again convinced themselves that the Ukrainians believe in their own victory and are ready for a difficult struggle to achieve it.
They just need to help by supplying Ukraine with the necessary amounts of modern weapons and equipment.
Towards the precipice
While Ukraine was skillfully continuing its offensive on the foreign policy front, things were not looking so bright inside the country.
It seems that the enemy has launched a large-scale attack in the Donbas, significantly increasing pressure on the Bakhmut region and near Kreminna and Svatove.
Anti-corruption raids and arrests continued, gradually moving from the highest to the middle levels.
Meanwhile, Ukraine, without even noticing, approached an extremely dangerous precipice.
As reported by the SBU on Feb. 10, People's Deputy of Ukraine Oleh Voloshyn was charged with treason. According to the investigation materials, during 2020-2021, the so-called parliamentarian assisted the military-political leadership of the Russian Federation in subversive activities against Ukraine.
For the many political scientists and journalists who from time to time have followed the activities of Mr. Voloshyn, this development was not a surprise.
The so-called lawmaker was a conscious Ukrainian hater, staunchly defended the pro-Russian line, and defended the interests of his masters from the Kremlin. The announcement of suspicion of treason against such a political figure can only be welcomed and applauded, and not only by Ukrainian counter-intelligence agents.
But, as always, the devil is in the detail. If you carefully read the message of the SBU, the disrespected Mr. Voloshyn is suspected of having “purposefully manipulated the public opinion of Ukrainians in the interests of Russia” and “in his speeches and interviews, the people's deputy presented distorted information about the military, political and social spheres of Ukraine.”
This is true and absolutely corresponds to what this politician did in the public sphere.
The matter would be completely different if you were to remove the words “in the interests of Russia” from the indictment announced against Voloshyn and apply it to any oppositionist. After all, according to the authorities, opposition representatives always manipulate public opinion, provide distorted information about the military, political and social spheres of Ukraine.
Will thousands of bots now chatter about how this is another misinformation victory for the Russian aggressor?
Right now, for better or worse, there is a non-public non-aggression pact between the government and the opposition. At the same time, within ruling elites there are always some, and especially in special periods as now, on the lookout for corruption opportunities.
And no one can guarantee that one day, when Ukraine wins through, an influential opposition politician will not be suspected of manipulating public opinion in an election speech, not in the interests of Russia, but in his own interests
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