Ukraine’s prime minister said on Sunday that reconciliation between Moscow and Kyiv is not possible within the next century.
“Reconciliation, cooperation – No, not in the next hundred years. Russia must first change, be democratized, demilitarized and denuclearized,” Denys Shmyhal said in an interview with German weekly newspaper Focus.
Read more: UN demands Russia withdraw from Ukraine
When asked about how Russia should be disarmed, Shmyhal listed further sanctions, refusal to cooperate with Russia, confiscation of Russian assets, and further military aid to Ukraine as prospects.
Shmyhal also said that the freezing of the conflict between Moscow and Kyiv in order to stop further bloodshed is unacceptable on the part of Ukraine, because it “will only play into Russia’s hands and lead to another big war.”
Shmyhal further denied the possibility of Ukraine ceding any of its territories to Russia, saying: “Society will not allow this. Thousands of our best people died not for us to seek a compromise with a bloody terrorist and aggressor who blackmails the whole world.”
“The only compromise is the complete withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine within the borders of 1991. Russians must stop shooting, stop aggression and leave our territory. I believe that changing the borders would be an unacceptable compromise for Europe as well,” he added.
Read more: Russia’s Putin issues new nuclear warnings to West over Ukraine
‘We want to live in a developed, civilized country’
Touching on the process of Ukraine’s membership to the EU, Shmyhal said that this has been going on for a long time.
“We believe that this (EU membership) is an ambitious but realistic goal, and we can get a consensus of European states in the near future. When the war is over, we want to live in a European, developed and civilized country. And we know exactly what needs to be done for this,” Shmyhal said.
He also noted that his country is united in society and government, saying that Ukraine consequently can adopt and approve European legislation and regulations very quickly.
He further said that the influence of oligarchs in the country has decreased significantly since the start of the Russia-Ukraine war, adding that Kyiv has adopted an anti-oligarchy law and is working on improving anti-monopoly legislation.
“Some of the oligarchs left the country, some lost their influence in the media. Almost none of them have political influence anymore. Many were forced to close their businesses in the east of Ukraine – their businesses were occupied or destroyed … Small and medium-sized enterprises should become the basis for the future recovery of Ukraine and its economy,” he said.
Kyiv officially applied for EU membership on Feb. 28, 2022, four days after the start of the war with Russia that Moscow calls a “special military operation.”
Read more: Berlin film festival opens with spotlight on Iran and Ukraine
The European Commission issued its opinion on the application of Ukraine’s EU membership on June 17 last year, after which the European Council granted Kyiv candidate status.
Last December, Ukraine’s parliament adopted several bills recommended by the European Commission to further the country’s EU accession process.
‘There is no systemic corruption in Ukraine today
Commenting on recent changes within the Defense Ministry following allegations of corruption within the Ukrainian government, Shmyhal said the country is completing the development of anti-corruption infrastructure.
“Institutions are fully functioning and check all levels for corruption. Society has changed as a result of this war and no longer forgives signs of possible wrongdoing. We have zero tolerance for corruption,” he said.
Noting that their reaction to such cases is immediate, he said that the detention of people suspected of abusing their power in office indicates a change in Ukraine’s approach to these issues.
“There is no systemic corruption in Ukraine today. Isolated manifestations of corruption – I emphasize the word ‘isolated’ – are not tolerated, they are immediately dealt with,” he added.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy declared on Jan. 23 that he would reshuffle officials at various levels in ministries, central and local administrative bodies, as well as law enforcement to build “a strong state,” as part of a crackdown on corruption.