UKRAINE (May 30, 2022)–A Ukrainian MP visiting Britain has urged the west to supply long-range rockets to her country – and warned without further military help her country risked deadlock or defeat in its war against Russia.
Kira Rudik, the leader of the opposition liberal Golos party, said she was afraid of the three-month long war “becoming the new normal” and that the west would not supply the Nato-standard weapons Ukraine needed to push back the invaders.
“One bad outcome is that this war becomes a stalemate, like a long-term frozen conflict,” Rudik said in an interview with the Guardian. “One of our goals is to make sure that the world does not get used to a war being in Ukraine.”
The MP argued that Ukraine’s “first and foremost need is weapons” because without battlefield success Kyiv would come under pressure to give up territory to Russia, as suggested by the veteran US diplomat Henry Kissinger – a suggestion Rudik said was “borderline … how do I not say the word stupid?”.
The 36-year-old said she was in daily contact with frontline troops and conceded Ukraine’s military was “not fine; they are under a lot of pressure” as Russian forces advance under heavy shelling in the eastern Donbas region.
“We should not repeat Russia’s mistake of underestimating us. We should not underestimate Russia right now,” Rudik said. It remained possible that as well a deadlock, Ukraine could yet be more seriously defeated, she added.
Ukraine’s army needed multiple-launch rocket systems (MLRS) with a range of hundreds of kilometres, Rudik argued, which are already the subject of intense lobbying by Kyiv – and which could be supplied by the US and others within days.
“We need to let our soldiers on the front fight better and for that we need MLRS systems, longer-range systems,” Rudik said. “We know that there is like no peaceful agreement on this conflict. We will need to win it militarily.”
Capable of firing 12 rockets in a minute, Ukraine believes the US-made M270 MLRS could turn around Kyiv’s fortunes, with Russia currently outshelling it and, under the heavy bombardment, closing in on Sievierodonetsk.
But the rocket artillery is controversial not least because it would give Ukraine the capacity to reach inside Russia. That has prompted warnings from Moscow that a US decision to supply the systems would “cross a red line”.
Rudik is in the UK for a few days where she is meeting MPs in London and Scotland, including Tobias Ellwood, the chair of the defence select committee, part of her first trip abroad since the war began on 24 February.
On the second day of the war Rudik was pictured holding a Kalashnikov rifle, saying she was prepared to use it to defend Kyiv. “Our women will protect our soil the same way as our men,” she wrote in a tweet that was picked up around the world.
The MP said she did not have to use the weapon as Russian forces bore down on Kyiv in the first weeks of the war, but insisted she remained willing to do so if necessary, not least because of the sexual violence the invaders had inflicted on Ukrainian women and girls in occupied suburbs north-east of the capital.
“I have been to Bucha, Irpin and Borodianka since the days of the occupation and I have talked to women who suffered from sexual crimes,” she said. “Honestly, this is probably one of the parts [reasons] why I have the rifle.”
Source: The Guardian