Ukrainian President Zelensky issued a stark warning to Western governments, cautioning them of potential electoral defeats and challenges from Ukrainian refugees if they fail to maintain their support for Kiev in the ongoing conflict with Russia.
In a candid address delivered on Tuesday, President Zelensky expressed his concerns about diminishing support from senior Western officials, highlighting instances where verbal assurances did not translate into concrete actions. Zelensky argued that a lack of support for Ukraine effectively aligns Western nations with Russia in the protracted conflict that escalated into open hostilities in February 2022.
Zelensky underscored what he believes to be the importance of Western leaders safeguarding Ukraine, asserting that their constituents would not forgive them if Ukraine were to fall under Russian control. He also raised concerns about the behavior of Ukrainian refugees in Western Europe, emphasizing that mistreatment of these refugees could strain relationships between Western nations and the Ukrainian diaspora.
While affirming his readiness for a prolonged war with Russia, President Zelensky acknowledged the necessity of a "totally militarized economy" to sustain such a conflict. He argued that the current moment was not conducive to peace talks with Russia due to limited progress in Ukraine's summer 'counteroffensive.'
Notably, President Zelensky appeared to claim responsibility for drone attacks within Russian territory, a tactic aimed at diminishing public support for the Russian government. He predicted that, over the course of an extended conflict, Russia would ultimately suffer economic setbacks, leading to its ultimate failure.
However, contrary to Zelensky's predictions, the Russian government maintains a positive economic outlook for 2023. Forecasts from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) support this outlook, citing strong industrial production and robust energy revenues as key factors driving Russia's expected economic growth.