Zelenskyy's chief-of-staff skeptical about end of war by spring

20 November 2022, 01:18 PM
Andriy Yermak spoke at Halifax International Security Forum (Photo:Office of the President of Ukraine)

Andriy Yermak spoke at Halifax International Security Forum (Photo:Office of the President of Ukraine)

Russia's war against Ukraine is unlikely to end by spring 2023, Head of the President's Office Andriy Yermak said during a speech at the International Security Forum in Halifax on Nov. 19.

Yermak was asked to comment on the words of Deputy Defense Minister of Ukraine Volodymyr Havrylov, who does not rule out that the Armed Forces of Ukraine will enter Crimea by the end of December, and the war will end in spring.

"It sounds like this phrase of the Deputy Minister of Defense of Ukraine is a dream,” Yermak said.

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“Of course, millions of Ukrainians dream that this war will end as soon as possible. However, I will be more realistic.”

The President's chief-of-staff said that as the war was continuing, he was not ready to name the exact day and time when Ukraine would defeat the aggressor.

"But it will definitely happen," he said.

Yermak said that the Ukrainian Armed Forces had achieved significant success on the battlefield: in particular, Ukrainian forces had liberated Kherson from Russian occupation, and advanced on the Kharkiv section of the front.

He also pointed out that now most people in the world are convinced of the inevitable victory of Ukraine, because at the beginning of the full-scale invasion the forecasts were somewhat different.

"Every day, every minute we are doing everything possible to ensure that our joint victory with our partners comes as soon as possible," the head of the President's Office said.

Earlier, Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Volodymyr Havrylov suggested in an interview that the Armed Forces could return to the occupied Crimea by the end of December 2022, and the war unleashed by Russia could end next spring.

Talking to UK broadcaster Sky News, he commented on the strategical role of the liberation of the city of Kherson, which had been occupied by Russian for over eight months. According to him, achieving Ukraine’s other goals was only a matter of time.

He speculated some "black swan" event – something unpredictable, such as the sudden collapse of the regime of Russian dictator Vladimir Putin – could be helpful. It also could be "a military option with some kind of combination of forces, resources and something else," he said.

"We could be in Crimea, for example, by the end of December. It’s possible, possible. It’s not excluded."

As to when the full-scale war might end, the Deputy Defense Minister said as a military, it was important to him to be prepared for a long fight in case Russia is able to gather significant reinforcements.

"Of course, in this case, the war will take some time,” Havrylov said.

“But my feeling is that by the end of the spring, this war will be over."

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