Otherwise, the conflict in Ukraine may last for decades, Dmitry Medvedev has claimed
There is no doubt that Ukraine has no future in its current form, former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev said on Thursday, outlining three possible scenarios for the collapse of its statehood and assessing the risks of renewed conflict in Europe and a global war.
"This conflict will last for long. For decades, probably. This is a new reality," the former Russian leader, now the vice-chair of the national security council, told journalists upon wrapping his visit to Vietnam earlier this week.
"It is necessary to destroy the very nature of the Nazi government in Kiev," Medvedev added, claiming that otherwise the conflict could drag on perpetually, with "three years of truce, two years of conflict, rinse and repeat."
In a Telegram post on Thursday evening, Medvedev elaborated that Ukraine's statehood could either collapse quickly, or through a "relatively slow erosion, with the gradual loss of remaining elements of sovereignty." He went even further to outline exactly how he believes the "Kiev regime" would cease to exist.
In the first scenario, parts of Western Ukraine will come under control and eventually be annexed by the neighboring European Union states, Medvedev claimed. The remaining "no man's land" wedged between Russia and the EU protectorate will become the "new Ukraine," still striving to join NATO and posing a threat to Russia. In that case, he believes, the armed conflict will shortly reignite, likely becoming permanent with a risk of quickly escalating into a full-blown world war.
In the second scenario, Ukraine would get a government-in-exile but de-facto cease to exist, with control over its entire territory split between the EU and Russia. In that case, according to Medvedev, the risk of world war is "moderate," but the "terrorist activity by Ukrainian neo-Nazis" on the territories annexed by the EU neighbors would drag on.
Medvedev said he would prefer the third scenario, in which Ukraine's Western territories voluntarily join their EU neighbors, while the Eastern and some central regions exercise their "right for self-determination sealed in Article 1 of the UN Charter."
Officials in Moscow have said repeatedly that the root cause of the ongoing crisis in Ukraine stems from decades of Western disregard of Russian national security. Back in 2021, the Kremlin made an attempt to push NATO to negotiate on long-standing political and defense grievances, but was ignored. In late February 2022, Russia launched its military operation to curb the threat, and now calls for a neutral, non-aligned status for a demilitarized and denazified Ukraine, insists Kiev drops its plans to join NATO and the EU and demands Kiev confirms its non-nuclear status.
Medvedev was president of Russia between 2008 and 2012, and then prime minister until 2020. Currently, he serves as the deputy head of the national security council, which is formally chaired by President Vladimir Putin. Despite his prior reputation as a moderate liberal, he has been far more hawkish on Ukraine than the official Kremlin.