Former US Special Representative to Ukraine, Kurt Volker, believes that the counteroffensive of the Armed Forces of Ukraine will be successful, but this doesn’t mean the end of Ukraine’s struggle against Russia.

 Volker made the statements in an interview with RBC-Ukraine, published on Wednesday, May 24. The interview took place during the Ukrainian-American Forum in Kyiv.

Answering the question of whether Ukraine now has the initiative in the war, Volker said:

“I think that Ukraine has already won because Vladimir Putin’s goal was to destroy Ukraine, and we see that it is impossible to destroy Ukraine. The Ukrainian spirit and identity will never be destroyed. And this is already a victory.”

According to him, “the Russian armed forces are no longer able to advance further” on the battlefield. Although they have tried hard to do so over the past few months, the occupiers are unable to hold onto their positions.

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“The Ukrainian forces are well trained, well-equipped, integrated, and they are under strong command. This will play a decisive role in the coming months as Ukraine moves forward,” he said.

“I don't know how far Ukraine will advance in this counteroffensive when it starts, but it’s not just [about] that. Ukraine’s struggle will continue.”

In Volker’s opinion, “people are putting too much hope in this one stage” of the counteroffensive: “It will be successful for Ukraine, but this is not the end. Don’t think that everything will end after that.”

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He said that Ukraine will have to rebuild, strengthen the army and the economy, and continue the war for a long time, “and we need to be ready for this as well.”

Volker is convinced that Ukraine’s “counteroffensive will cause another flow of aid [from the US] this year, so that next year it will not be necessary to go through this during [the US] presidential election” in November 2024.

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“Of course, Ukraine’s success in the counteroffensive will be another incentive for the United States to continue to provide even greater support to Ukraine,” he said.

 Volker also commented on the possibility of Ukraine’s membership in NATO before the end of the war with Russia.

When asked what results Ukraine could achieve at the Vilnius NATO summit, he said: “I believe that most NATO countries will say that Ukraine can’t be admitted into NATO now because the war is still going on.

“Because that would mean that NATO will also become a participant in the war. A fair point.”

However, he said this is not a sufficiently reasoned answer because  “NATO has committed to recognizing Ukraine as a member since 2008.” He remarked that “15 years have passed, and no progress has been made.”

“We need to make it clear to Putin that he cannot keep NATO under control. NATO must say: 'We are starting to meet our commitments’,” Volker said.

According to him, “this implies many practical measures that can be taken now to assist and integrate Ukraine, so that it will gain full membership as soon as practicable.”

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“But we have to send a stronger signal this year than last year.”

According to the RBC-Ukraine article: “Kurt Volker was once one of the most recognizable American figures in Ukraine: after he was appointed US Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations in 2017. In 2019, in the midst of the scandal that led to the impeachment of Donald Trump over his conversation with Volodymyr Zelensky, Volker resigned.

“But he is still actively involved in Ukrainian affairs and visiting Ukraine, including after the start of the full-scale Russian invasion. Now Volker is a member of the governing bodies of a number of private companies and public organizations.”

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