NEW DELHI: An excerpt from ‘The Gist’ episode with Anton Anisimov, the Editor-in-Chief of Sputnik International in conversation with StratNews Global Associate Editor Amitabh P. Revi.
APR: Did the Russian military in the government overestimate their strength or underestimate the resistance there?
AA: We’re talking about a popular misconception, that’s better described as imagination failure coming from some of the Western media outlets who presumed that Russia would have wanted to finish the military operation within three or four days. Ukraine is Europe’s second biggest country, second to Russia, and also its military capabilities are among the top tier in Europe. So, it’s kind of obnoxious to even suggest that Russia expected this to be over in a matter of days. As for this part of the narrative that Russia overestimated its capabilities or underestimated Ukraine’s capabilities, I don’t think we can just say that brazenly. We have to understand that this operation is going to take time and everybody from the get-go here in Russia at very least, knew that this operation was going to take time. We’re not speaking about simply bombing the entire country. Russia is not using its military capabilities to their full extent, as you might understand. So it’s more of a combination of a military operation with a humanitarian mission. And the humanitarian part is what makes it so hard. It’s what makes this operation take this long. Here in Russia, people see Ukraine as their brotherly nation. We have many people in Russia with relatives living in Ukraine and vice versa. Many Ukrainians migrate to Russia, not just seasonal workers, but also full scale migration for years now. To a large extent this humanitarian part is the reason why the operation is taking this much time.
APR: In terms of the objectives that President Putin had laid out on February 24. Everyone around the world has heard the speeches that he made and the history he gave, have those objectives changed in any manner? What are the objectives? Was government change ever an objective?
AA: No, no, government change was never an objective. Throughout the last few years, it was pretty hard having a constructive dialogue with the Ukrainian regime, especially for their Russian counterparts, for Russia’s President. But, at the same time from the get go, it was stated that Russia is not seeking regime change in Ukraine. that Russia sees President Zelensky as the legitimate president of Ukraine. The only three objectives that have been stated and repeated many, many times, is the de-natzification of Ukraine, the militarisation of Ukraine, Ukraine as a neutral state in relation to participation in the NATO alliance and also the end of genocide in the eastern part of Ukraine. So these are the main objectives. Establishing a proxy regime in Ukraine was never a goal. It wasn’t stated at the beginning of the operation. I’m not saying that after what has happened, after the catastrophe that the Ukrainian regime has led its country into, that President Zelensky is going to stay. We cannot be certain about that. But we can say for certain regime change is not a goal of the military operation that is being conducted now.
Watch the complete conversation here: from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8bqAneg5-E4&t=56s