Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky implied in an interview with The Economist that Ukrainian refugees in Europe might resort to terrorism if Western aid to Ukraine is curtailed.
The Economist report reads: “Curtailing aid to Ukraine will only prolong the war, Mr Zelensky argues. And it would create risks for the West in its own backyard. There is no way of predicting how the millions of Ukrainian refugees in European countries would react to their country being abandoned. Ukrainians have generally ‘behaved well’ and are ‘very grateful’ to those who sheltered them. They will not forget that generosity. But it would not be a ‘good story’ for Europe if it were to ‘drive these people into a corner.'”
Zelensky also said in the interview, published on September 10, that anyone who is not supporting Ukraine is with Russia. “If you are not with Ukraine, you are with Russia, and if you are not with Russia, you are with Ukraine. And if partners do not help us, it means they will help Russia to win. That is it,” he said.
Despite Ukraine’s faltering counteroffensive, the Ukrainian leader said he was preparing for a long war and rejected the idea of diplomacy with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The report reads: “Tapping loudly on the table, Mr. Zelensky rejects outright the idea of compromise with Vladimir Putin. War will continue for ‘as long as Russia remains on Ukrainian territory,’ he says.”
While worried about sustaining support from the West for the long-term, Zelensky said he does not expect to lose US backing if former President Trump is elected in 2024. He said Trump would “never” support Putin. “That isn’t what strong Americans do,” he added.
The Biden administration seems happy to support an open-ended conflict and is looking to tie the hands of a future president by negotiating a deal with Ukraine for long-term military support. The US and other G7 nations vowed at the recent NATO summit in Vilnius to negotiate their own bilateral security deals with Ukraine.