The duration of hostilities is defined by NATO escalation efforts, Moscow’s ambassador to the UK, Andrey Kelin, has said
A Russian service member during a military exercise. © RIA Novosti
The outcome of the Ukraine conflict hinges on whether NATO continues to prop up Kiev with arms shipments, Andrey Kelin, Russia’s ambassador to the UK, said in an interview released on Saturday.
Speaking to the BBC, when asked how long he thought it would take for the fighting to cease, Kelin replied that it “depends on the efforts in escalation of war that [are] being undertaken by NATO countries, especially by the UK.”
The envoy went on to say that “it is a big idealistic mistake to think that Ukraine may prevail,” adding that Russia is 16 times bigger than Ukraine and possesses enormous resources. He stated further that Moscow “hasn’t… started yet to act very seriously.”
At the same time, Kelin warned that “sooner or later, of course, this escalation may get a new dimension which we do not need and we do not want,” pointing to the UK’s recent decision to send Ukraine long-range missiles and tanks, as well as ongoing deliberations about potential shipments of modern aircraft.
However, he did not rule out that the conflict could be settled diplomatically, saying that the two sides “can make peace tomorrow.”
On Saturday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Galuzin said that the Ukraine conflict could be resolved if Kiev were to ditch its ambitions to join NATO and the EU, recognize “new territorial realities” and designate Russian as a state language.
However, Mikhail Podoliak, an aide to Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, dismissed the demands, insisting instead that to make peace, Russia must withdraw all its troops from the territory Kiev claims as its own, pay reparations and extradite “war criminals.”
Since the start of the Ukraine conflict in February 2022, Western countries have provided Kiev with billions of dollars in security assistance, a policy which Moscow claims makes the military bloc a direct participant in the hostilities.
The UK has emerged as one of Ukraine’s most active supporters, having committed £4.6 billion ($5.7 billion) in military aid. Earlier this month, London provided Kiev with long-range Storm Shadow missiles, which were subsequently used by Ukrainian troops to target the civilian population in the Russian city of Lugansk, according to Moscow.
In March, the UK announced that it would send Ukraine armor-piercing tank rounds containing depleted uranium, with the Russian Defense Ministry warning that the munitions would cause “irreparable harm” to soldiers and civilians alike.