Thu. Sep 28th, 2023


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‘Here’s how to defeat Putin’ — Viktor Yushchenko on ‘weapon’ despot fears most

3 min read

Putin says ‘the organisers of this rebellion will face justice’

Russian President Vladimir Putin is currently scrambling to ensure he has the support of his top officials.

It comes after his position of power was threatened by Wagner Chief Yevgeny Prigozhin, who, over the weekend, staged an attempted mutiny.

While Prigozhin has since been exiled from Russia, many believe that it is the beginning of the end of Putin’s 23-year grip on Russian politics.

Viktor Yushchenko, Ukraine’s former president, had first-hand experience with Putin, the pair meeting behind closed doors many times.

Mr Yuschenko led the country from 2005 to 2010, and rolled-out many Western-oriented policies like closer ties to the EU and NATO, much to the dismay of Putin.

READ MORE Lukashenko’s nightmarish grip on Belarus, as told by an ex-government insider

Last year, writing in an opinion piece for The Guardian — titled: “I’ve dealt with Putin before: I know what it will take to defeat this brutal despot” — he claimed to know the one “weapon” that would stop the Russian President in his tracks: international solidarity.

While abstract, Mr Yushchenko claimed that it was unity only that would force Putin’s hand, writing: “One of the greatest weapons we now have against Putin is international solidarity and support.

“This is something that really bothers him. I know that, while news about our war made headlines all over the world and dominated the global conversation for several weeks, interest in stories of our territorial defenders is starting to wane.

“Fatigue towards the horrors of war is sadly common; we saw this with Syria, Yemen and our own Donbas.”

He continued: “But those of us in Ukraine cannot afford to feel fatigued, or else we risk losing sight of victory. Our strength is now more important than ever.

“We cannot do this without external support. This war is a defining moment, not just in Ukrainian history, but in defence of democracy.”

There were fears late last year that international support for Ukraine was slowly waning as the war dragged on.

Things changed in early 2023, however, when countries in the West agreed to pledge more military hardware to Ukraine.

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The International Criminal Court (ICC) also gathered to issue an international arrest warrant for Putin and his children’s commissioner Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova.

Then, in May, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace met with his Ukrainian counterpart and confirmed that Britain would be the First Nation to provide Kyiv with long-range strike capabilities.

According to Ukrainian officials, all of the continued support and recent turbulence within Russia proves that Putin is close to the end.

Andriy Yermak, President Zelensky’s closest adviser, told the BBC this week that he believed “the countdown has started”.

At a briefing in Kyiv, another official said: “The Putin regime cannot be saved.”

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