For the past ten months, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has accompanied his people through the war. He received a lot of recognition for his courage in staying in the capital, especially after the start of the war, despite all the threats. One of his advisors, Serhiy Leshchenko, even went so far as to say in an interview with “t-online” that the country would have fallen completely into the hands of the Russian occupiers if Zelenskyy had left Kyiv. The heroic myth surrounding the President was thus quickly established. But even the head of government made a few mistakes in his war management, Leshchenko admits.
“Of course, like everyone, he makes mistakes. For example, he made some wrong decisions when it came to filling positions,” says the consultant. However, this is nothing unusual, since a head of state has to make several thousand decisions every day and “cannot be right with 100 percent of the decisions”.
Even former Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) did not do everything right during her term in office. Leshchenko explains that their wrong policy towards Russia has had fatal consequences for Ukraine. “I’m really angry with the chancellor because she miscalculated enormously,” says the presidential adviser. He doesn’t think Merkel was biased or bribed by Putin.
Nevertheless, she made her decisions to the detriment of Kiev – for example, when Germany, along with France, was the only nation to prevent Ukraine from joining NATO in 2008 with the aim of not provoking Russian President Vladimir Putin. Then, when Russian troops invaded Donbass and Crimea in 2014, she refused to sell arms to Ukrainian soldiers in order to de-escalate the situation.
Over the years, according to Leshchenko, this policy has not saved Ukraine, Germany or Europe. “It just created an illusion for Putin,” says the adviser. “It made him even more self-confident to dictate to Europe what it has to do.” The next step was the attack on Ukraine, which could well have been avoided. “It would have been different if EU and NATO membership had been seriously considered twelve years ago,” Leshchenko said.
Despite everything, he is grateful for the support that Germany is giving Ukraine during the war – even if the arms deliveries are not of the necessary scope. “But I also see the big difference with the previous governments. I am pleased that there has been a rethink,” says Selenskyj’s advisor.
An unidentified gunman fired on a patrol in the Rostov-on-Don region in southern Russia, injuring a police officer. The man was dressed in camouflage and was armed with an assault rifle. The deserter is said to be still on the run.
The Russian military reports advances in eastern Ukraine. Putin was disappointed by Angela Merkel’s recent comments on Ukraine. All current voices and developments on the Ukraine war can be found in the ticker.