Ukraine needs ‘plan B’ – ex-PM

The current situation is “tragic” and will lead to defeat, Yulia Tymoshenko has argued

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky needs to offer the country another plan for winning the war, because the current one isn’t working, former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko said on Wednesday. 

Tymoshenko became Ukraine’s first female prime minister in 2005, after the ‘Orange Revolution’, and led the government again in 2007-2010. She currently heads the opposition Fatherland (Batkivshchyna) party, which has 24 seats in the Verkhovna Rada.

“Yes, today we are all for victory, for Ukraine, for territorial integrity,” she said in a video address posted on social media. “But head-on, as this battle is going on today, it will be very difficult for Ukraine to fight long-term protracted wars.”

Therefore I ask the president: offer the country a plan B for our victory. 

Tymoshenko did not say what her vision of an alternative policy would be. She described the current situation as “difficult [and] rather tragic,” due to the reduction in military aid from the West, which are “just enough to not lose.”

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The former PM also addressed Zelensky’s proposal to draft up to 500,000 more troops, which would expand mobilization to the very young, the elderly, as well as individuals with disabilities.

“It doesn’t solve the problem, it’s ineffective and it’s unconstitutional,” Tymoshenko said, noting that her party would vote against it. Instead of expanding the draft to 25-year-olds, she said, Kiev ought to send police to the front instead. 

“Keeping back (…) hundreds of thousands of people in the security forces who know how to fight, but don’t fight, is the wrong position,” she argued.

According to Zelensky’s “peace platform” articulated last November, Ukraine’s goal is to reclaim its 1991 borders and force Russia’s unconditional surrender, while joining the EU and NATO. Some of his advisers have also speculated that Russia would need to be dismembered

Moscow has dismissed Zelensky’s “platform” as nonsensical, noting that for talks with Ukraine to even begin, Kiev would need to recognize Donetsk, Lugansk, Zaporozhye, Kherson – and of course, Crimea – as Russian territory.

In March 2014, when Crimea voted overwhelmingly to rejoin Russia in response to the US-backed Maidan coup, Tymoshenko was caught on tape calling for Ukrainians to “grab our guns and kill go kill those damn Russians.” She ran for president in 2019 against the incumbent Pyotr Poroshenko, but came in third after Zelensky – an actor with no political experience – joined the race and promised peace.

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