Ukraine, ambassador Zazo: “From Kiev an appeal not to tire us, more aid for the economy ‘

‘Race against time in Kherson to stop Russification. At the moment, the prospects for a resumption of negotiations are slim. It’s honeymoon with Italy ‘

They are worried about the disastrous economy and the possibility that the West “gets tired”, that the cohesion shown so far on sanctions and military support in Kiev may fail. This is how the Italian ambassador Pierfrancesco Zazo describes the state of mind of the Ukrainians, when the war has now entered its seventh month. “On the military level they are confident, as long as aid continues – he said in an interview with Adnkronos – But there is concern for the economy and there is great fear of the so-called ‘sanctions and war fatigue’, which the West get tired, while the Russians continue to use the energy weapon, with the time factor playing in their favor “.

“Today, speaking with them, it emerges that Ukrainians are more worried about the economic situation than the military one, the GDP has collapsed by 40% – explains Zazo – There are millions of refugees abroad, exports have collapsed and inflation it has risen, they have a monthly state need of 5 billion dollars to pay social expenses, salaries and pensions. In Kiev they believe that the aid from the G7 and the EU arrives too slowly and that for this reason a default is risked “.

While, “on the military level they are cautiously confident – says the ambassador, referring to the evaluations of the Kiev authorities – on the economic level there is great concern, on the other hand they know that the Russians are not only aiming at the conquest of the country, but also to the destruction of the Ukrainian economy “.

For this reason “they are asking for further financial aid and the tightening of sanctions against Russia, in particular on gas, and the abolition of the tourist visa, because they believe that this would also put Putin in great difficulty in front of his public opinion”, says Zazo , explaining that the agreement reached yesterday in Prague for the suspension of the visa facilitation agreement did not fully satisfy Kiev, which “would have wanted more”.

KHERSON OFFENSIVE – Take back Kherson also to stop the ‘Russification’ process in the occupied territories, a reconquest all the more symbolic since the southern city of Ukraine was the first to be occupied shortly after the war began. Ambassador Zazo explains what, according to military analysts, “‘is the immediate objective” of Kiev, while on the ground the situation remains essentially stalemated, with Ukrainian forces currently appearing to have the initiative.
“The immediate goal is to retake Kherson, the only city in the hands of the Russians located west of the Dnieper River, a natural watershed, located in a strategic position near Odessa. For Ukraine – underlines the ambassador – it is very important. take back the city, which fell without resistance in the first days of the war, six months ago. And it is also important to try to stop Russian preparations to annex the occupied territories, to hold the referendums that Moscow intends to hold this month, to go forward with the Russification process “. It is “a race against time, for them it is very important to anticipate, to accelerate”, says Zazo. Who then, speaking of the situation on the ground, which remains “deadlocked”, observes how “the Russian advance in the Donbass continues to slow down: we are witnessing a growing fatigue, counterbalanced, according to the analysis of military observers, by a greater Ukrainian initiative on the southern front “. “In the past months there was a greater firepower of Russian artillery, which has gradually diminished – reconstructs the ambassador – while Ukraine can now rely more and more on modern long-range weapons sent by the West. , with which it is able to hit the rear and logistical depots, even in the Crimea “. With the start of the offensive on Kherson “analysts explain that we are facing a paradigm shift – concludes the ambassador – the Ukrainians must now prove that they are as good at attacking as they have been very good at defending themselves”.


The prospects of a short-term resumption of negotiations between Kiev and Moscow “unfortunately are scarce”, admits Zazo, underlining “the total lack of trust between the parties”, with Russia not even reaching the goal. minimum of the conquest of the Donbass, while in Ukraine “public opinion has become increasingly anti-Russian and less willing to compromise, after the thousands of civilian victims caused by the bombings and the massacres of Bucha and Irpin”.
After the withdrawal from the north of Ukraine, Moscow had indicated the objective of the Donbass, which has not been achieved, and in any case does not give up “the attempt to retake Odessa and occupy the coastal strip on the Black Sea, with the aim of strangling the Country “, recalls the ambassador. Because certainly the Kremlin “cannot justify the war, the thousands of deaths, sanctions and international isolation only with the reconquest of the Donbass – explains Zazo – For this reason, in the opinion of Kiev, Vladimir Putin, inspired by the fundamentalist vision of ‘Russky Mir’ (the Russian world) who rejects the legitimacy of the existence of Ukraine separated from the Russian motherland, remains determined to conquer as much territory as possible “.
In this context, the Ukrainians “have no choice but to resist and demonstrate that they are able to do so, because any failure would be interpreted by Moscow as a sign of weakness”, the diplomat comments.

ROLE ITALY – Relations between Rome and Kiev are experiencing “a honeymoon”, Ukraine “recognizes that it has carried out a decisive action to raise awareness on the main European states for the granting of the status of candidate country to the EU”, while, by virtue of economic relations that had reached “an unprecedented level” before the war, Italy could play a key role in the reconstruction efforts, said the ambassador, speaking a few days after the visit of Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio. “The Ukrainians – he says – are grateful to Italy for the political, economic, humanitarian and military support. And they are also very grateful to the Italian government for its support for the sanctions, which it has never opposed, having played an incisive role. in the freezing of the funds of the Russian oligarchs. They also recognize the great efforts made to diversify the sources of energy supply, to reduce dependence on Russia (which went from 40% to 15%) and those to put a cap on the price of gas, which would an impact on Moscow’s revenue “. Not only that: Kiev “recognizes our generous show of solidarity with the reception of refugees and humanitarian aid, not to mention that we have never closed the embassy”, claims Zazo. Then, speaking of Italy’s commitment to reconstruction, the diplomat underlines “the great potential in the sectors of infrastructure, renewable energy, space, agro-industry and mechanics”. “We would also like to use the agreements of the Farnesina with the local autonomies – he explains – to encourage collaboration between the Italian and Ukrainian municipalities, on the model of what already exists, for example between Odessa and Genoa, revitalizing the twinning agreements and launching new ones, like those recently signed between Belgrade and Bucha. Recommending to the Ukrainian authorities to continue with structural reforms “.

ZAPORIZHZHIA – The mission of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Zaporizhzhia “is very delicate”, also because the Ukrainians “fear that the Russians aim at de facto recognition” of Russian control, says Zazo, on the day when the IAEA inspectors they entered the plant for the first time, with the primary objective of avoiding a nuclear accident. “The Ukrainians – he recalls – are demanding the withdrawal of the Russian occupation forces and armaments and hope for a demilitarization. And they fear that the Russians are doing tests, as they have done in recent days, to disconnect the nuclear power plant from the Ukrainian electricity grid” .