Ministry secretary general: Russia extremely committed to Ukraine goals

Defense ministry Secretary General Kusti Salm.
Defense ministry Secretary General Kusti Salm. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Recent events are demonstration of the fact that the Russian leadership is willing to pay a very high price in its occupation of Ukraine, as well as taking societal risks – to the extent that it is 'incredibly' committed to achieving its objectives there, Ministry of Defense Secretary General Kusti Salm says.

Salm said the ministry is of the opinion that the partial military mobilization which Russian leader Vladimir Putin announced earlier this week is an extraordinary step for Russia, as its implementation is militarily complex, and could further lead to dissatisfaction in society there.

It also means that Russia's military commitment is such that, just as with Ukraine, Russia cannot afford to lose the conflict.

Salm said: "These decisions spell a raising of the stakes, escalation, an attempt to take back the initiative from Ukraine. This is an attempt to show the West that they are ready to raise the temperature, if necessary to boiling point, plus also that there is also an alternative to a ceasefire."

Salm also noted a tendency for a skillful use by Russian diplomats in using high-sounding words when highlighting both the possibility and necessity of a ceasefire, whereas: "Actually, this would mean selling out the Ukrainian state and its people, and we cannot permit that to happen."

Russia's actions over the past week also show that the conflict is likely to continue for a long time to come, while Russia is willing to take ever greater risks.

"This demonstrates that Russia is tenaciously dedicated to its goals, paying a high price and taking risks with its society. This is a very serious conclusion, one of the most serious ones we have had to make during the course of this war," he said.

Rhetoric involving talk of nuclear warfare also underlines the commitment Russia's leadership has, and the likelihood of the conflict being a protracted one.

According to Salm, the success of recent Ukrainian counterattacks and the effective spreading of consequent messages of victory, which has been giving a message to western countries and their societies that Ukrainian victory is possible, have forced Russia's hand, hence the recent actions.

He said: "The operation in Kharkiv fulfilled this goal splendidly; Ukraine rushed back on to the TV screens again, with that. It brought back the faith, hope and knowledge that Ukraine can indeed achieve victory. Ukraine seized the initiative exceptionally, quickly and convincingly."

The Ukrainians know that they have to continue to provide the western countries with a narrative of victory, in order to ensure the continuation of support with weapons.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Marko Tooming

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