Minister of Defense of Ukraine, Oleksi Reznikovnot as threatened as the president Zelensky, but the country’s service recently foiled an assassination attempt against him in central Kyiv. For this reason, he received his visitors this morning in a secret place.
There was an orderly man waiting for us at the end of a long alley, very green and full of trees.He just had enough time to bring us to a pond as if we were in a landscape Taras Shevchenkothe last person one expects to meet is the head of an army at war.
But it was there, almost on time.Round bald head, neatly trimmed all-white goatee, smiling eyes, slim body, leaning sideways with us for a well-ordered photo Irina Zolotayour advisor.
He immediately joked with me, “So, did you come back to win?”
And, without further ado, we went to a conference room with sandbag windows, an impromptu meal…and the conversation started.
his story? his past?
“What happened? I’m a lawyer. I’m an expert in mediation. I never imagined that one day I would find myself in this situation, leading one of the best militaries in the world.”
[Borrell avisa a Putin de que si usa armas nucleares contra Ucrania su ejército será “aniquilado”]
Didn’t you join the mayor of Kyiv, Vitaly Klitschko?
Yes, that was the day after Maidan. Dignity Revolution. But do you know what I am responsible for? From Eurovision. from the Champions League. and electronic voting. Little soldier, look. After two years, I stepped down. I’m back to what I’m really interested in. diving. Books by Jules Verne and Jack London. American Films Learn English. My Jewish ancestry is on my father’s side. And my law firm.
And what about Zelensky? When did you meet him?
Former President Kuchma put me in touch with the Ukrainian delegation in Minsk. He is the one who introduced us. We hit it off. The new president entrusted me with the duties of the occupied Donbass. Then, not long after, I went to Luhansk with him, and he recommended the Ministry of Defense to me.
I was stunned. I told my wife and she started crying. So I explained to the president that I had no military experience other than my service in the Soviet Army (which ended up with the rank of sergeant). Several months have passed. The president reiterated his offer to me. Since nobody said no twice to Volodymyr Zelensky, I finally accepted. On November 4, 2021, Parliament approved my appointment. At the dawn of this war, I am charged with defending my country.
I thought of Zelensky’s reputation as a clan leader who knew how to get along with his familiar contemporaries. The minister seemed to read my mind.
“He would tell me that since both my father and my mother were acrobats, the president and I had an artistic side in common.”
“Nothing, just kidding, but the truth is, a year later, I still don’t know why they gave me the position.”
[Putin quiere ganar con el frío: ha destruido ya el 30% de la capacidad de Ucrania para generar electricidad]
It seemed he was thinking.
“Maybe it’s because the law requires me to be a civilian. Maybe it’s because the president wants to use my experience as a lawyer to reform the department, end the abuse of power, and equip our troops for attacks that we think are coming.” Then, like now In this way, the surrender of the Russian soldiers was negotiated. I have no idea. “
The truth is that this false modesty was the man who responded to the proposal of his Belarusian counterpart, who arrived two days after the start of the war, proposing the surrender of the Belarusian defense minister Putinvery clever: “Of course, I am willing to accept the surrender of Russia.”
The reality is that from the Chief of General Staff Valery Zarouzhny Admiral Oleksi Nejpapapass the general Sirski (Heroes of the Battles of Kyiv and Kharkov), Mirhorowski (Air Force) or deeneca (Border Guard’s elite unit), this man who loves neither war nor war goes on and on about each other’s roles, styles and milestones.
When I talked to him about the work I was doing, the field I came to shoot in, and the units of my colleagues Mark Russell, Gilles Herzog, Olivier Joaquin I wanted to go on and I realized he knew them all. Here, I just came back from the frontline raid. There, he helped evacuate one of the wounded. And further afield, he has gone to adorn a brave man.
At the end of the meal, he talked about the treasure of France, which, in his opinion, was the Caesar howitzer.
“You know what?” he told me. “What’s the best gun in the world?”
Then, as if a secret was revealed to me: “One more CAESAR equals one thousand fewer Ukrainian deaths!”
And deadpan: “The Danes have just bought the 19 units that France is about to deliver to them. Can’t we explain to them that they need it more than we Ukrainians?“.
As I wrote, CAESAR seems to be on its way to the Donbass.
Although Kyiv and all Ukrainian cities are currently being bombed, the Minister of Courage has no doubts about victory. There is no doubt that the war is too serious to be handed over to the military alone.
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