Ukraine, UK, NATO and Putin’s Doomed Regime: Interview with Lawmaker Oleksiy Honcharenko
In an exclusive interview with Kyiv Post, Oleksiy Honcharenko, Ukrainian lawmaker and member of the PACE (Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe) delegation, shared his impressions about his recent meeting with British Prime Minister Liz Truss, and shared his views on the need to build a new international security system and what awaits the Putin regime.
I understand you have just returned from a working trip to Britain where, on Oct. 4, you met with Prime Minister Truss. How did it go? Will Britain’s support for Ukraine remain as strong as under her predecessor, Boris Johnson?
Yes, I took part in the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham. It was an honor to give a speech there, and I met Liz Truss and other colleagues – Members of Parliament from different countries. I can confirm that the U.K. is a very close partner of Ukraine and shows leadership in support of our country and uniting the free world.
Boris Johnson, whom I know personally, showed strong leadership and support for Ukraine. He’s a hero here for the Ukrainian people. Truss is also an influential leader. She was foreign secretary under Johnson, sharing a wide range of insights on key issues. She reassured us that Britain will continue to support Ukraine until our victory. However, some diplomatic work is needed, which is very important.
Is Britain ready to increase military support for Ukraine?
Britain actively supports Ukraine, but the possibility of additional support is not so high because the U.K. has more strength at sea than on land. The U.K. has provided extremely high-level military aid to Ukraine and will continue its support. I can’t say if they will increase it much more because it’s difficult. But if the U.K continues to do so at the same level, that will be very important and strong support for us.
What do you think happened to Elon Musk? Why did he express such pro-Russian statements?
Being highly successful in one area doesn’t mean you can succeed in another. He is a great entrepreneur, but he is an awful geopolitician. If you are a billionaire, it doesn’t mean that you can advise on, for example, how to play football or basketball or anything else.
Will Ukraine’s application to join NATO affect the risk of Russia using nuclear weapons?
I think if Ukraine were a member of NATO, this awful war wouldn’t have happened, and Russia wouldn’t be a risk in terms of nuclear weapon usage. There was an attempt from the West to build security policies that placed Ukraine as a buffer between Russia and Europe, which simply didn’t work. Ukraine should be a member of the EU and NATO.
How long could it take for Ukraine to become a member of NATO, and what are the
conditions or requirements?
Nobody can predict the time needed. Regarding the requirements, it should be the political will of the NATO member states. Usually, a membership action plan is needed. However, there is now the example of Finland and Sweden which skipped the action plan and started direct negotiations for joining NATO. Ukraine is fighting on behalf of all of NATO. That’s a fact.
How do you assess the state of the war based on your insights? How long will it last in your opinion?
Nobody can tell how long this war will last, but today there is a big window of opportunity for Russia to mobilize people. Before those soldiers arrive at the front, Ukraine has the chance of finishing the war. After the liberation of Kherson and Donbas, Putin’s regime will fall. To achieve that, the Ukrainian army needs more weaponry without any restrictions. We can finish this war within weeks if we receive tanks and long-range missiles.
What is the probability of a revolution in Russia? How do you assess the Russian
opposition, and which of its existing leaders could become the next president of Russia?
I think the Russian Federation will collapse after this war. It will not survive in its present borders and way of living. Maybe the country will even have a different name, so I can’t predict who its leaders will be. Those who are really in opposition to Putin’s regime are in prison or have been expelled. Putin’s regime looks stable, but it could disappear in a flash. Everything is based on one person and his entourage, and it can fall apart at any moment. But nobody knows when that moment will come.
How long will it potentially take to bring Russian war criminals to justice for atrocities in
Ukraine? What is the legal mechanism and has there been any progress?
A special international tribunal is needed against Russia’s political and military leadership. There are other instruments – the Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court – but these mechanisms are pretty complicated.
Why do you think some international organizations ignore Russia’s war – or openly or
covertly support Russia?
The United Nations [UN] is useless. There aren’t any results, unfortunately. In the Security Council they are just paralyzed. It’s a big challenge for the whole world. We need a new international security system because the existing one doesn’t work.
Also, according to the UN Charter, the Soviet Union was a member of the Security Council – not the Russian Federation. There is a particular procedure that Russia never passed through. I think the UN needs extensive reform that should be started by kicking Russia out of the Security Council.
I also want to ask about Odesa, your hometown. It’s known that there were pro-Russian
supporters in the city. What’s the situation like now? Is it safe?
I can’t say that there are a lot of Russia supporters. Some of them are more pro-Soviet than pro-Russian – especially older generations. But as Russian troops started killing many people in Mariupol, Bucha, Odesa, and other cities, people changed their minds.
The situation in Odesa is undoubtedly better than in Mykolaiv or Zaporizhzhia, but certainly far from normal. There are Iranian drones and missile attacks. There isn’t ground fighting because Ukraine is moving and liberating these territories and kicking Russians out from the right bank of the Dnipro River. We have every chance of liberating Kherson.
You actively represented Petro Poroshenko’s party in parliament – Zelensky’s direct opponent. Is there any political confrontation at the moment?
For me, from Feb. 24, 2022, President Zelensky does not exist. We now have Commander-in-Chief Zelensky. As a citizen of Ukraine, I should help a commander. It is my duty. I think he is bearing his responsibilities with dignity. Of course, I have some questions, but I will ask them after our victory. We have to unite under a common idea to stop the enemy that kills our people.