RIGA - In order to succeed in the war against Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin needs the surrender or the liquidation of the Kyiv-based government of Ukraine, Janis Sarts, director of the NATO Center for Strategic Communications Excellence, told TV3 this morning.
According to him, Putin had predicted that Russia would defeat Ukraine in three days, but the reality turned out to be the opposite, so now the Russians are desperate and trying to achieve the surrender or destruction of the Kyiv government.
However, even if Russia succeeds in capturing or destroying Ukraine's political leadership, it is very unlikely that Putin's team will be able to push its plans further, as "all of Ukraine will be against them", the expert predicted.
Commenting on possible ways in which Russia could neutralize the Ukrainian government, the head of NATO's Center for Strategic Communications Excellence said the capture scenario was very unlikely, suggesting that assassination was more likely. However, the assassination of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky would worsen the situation in Russia, not Ukraine, the expert said.
"I think President Zelensky has surprised a lot of people. He has really become a true leader of the nation, a leader, very, very respected internationally. I think that doing so - killing him - would only worsen the situation in Russia, not Ukraine," he said.
He stressed that the current situation highlights how small the so-called fifth column in Ukraine actually is. "Of course there is a fifth column, knowing their history, story, etc., but I would pay more attention to how small it actually is," the expert said.