Jun 6, 2022
Moscow will respond to the West delivering long-range missiles to Ukraine 6/05/22 Transcript
In comments broadcast on Sunday, Putin said the systems were “nothing new” and their range depended on the missiles that the US decided to provide. Read the transcript here.
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Speaker 1: (00:00)
Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, is threatening to hit new targets if the West sends Ukraine long-range missiles. It’s not clear whether Putin is referring to targets within or beyond Ukraine’s borders.
Vladimir Putin: (00:16)
If long-range missiles are supplied, we’ll make certain conclusions and use our own means of destruction. We have enough to strike a target we have not yet been hitting.
Speaker 1: (00:31)
I am now joined by DW’s Russian analyst, Konstantin Eggert in Riga. Konstantin, the Russian president there, not exactly talking softly. What do you make of his comments?
Konstantin Eggert : (00:45)
Well, Putin has been talking softly about for quite a long time. Wasn’t talking softly for quite a long time. We heard threats of using nuclear weapons, at least technical nuclear weapons, before from him. This is nothing new. I suppose, that this shows that Putin is worried about increasing Western supplies to Ukraine. What is even more important is the fact that judging by NATO military analysts, with whom I had a chance to speak in the last couple of weeks, the state of preparation of Ukrainian army, for use of these new weapons systems is increasing. Probably they will be fully operational by the end of June. I suppose we should read it as a warning, but also as a sign of worry, that new, modern Western weaponry will hit the Russian army in Ukraine really, really hard.
Speaker 1: (01:44)
It could very well reverse the tide in the East, which his forces currently are winning. What do you believe that he believes the effect of his words will be?
Konstantin Eggert : (01:58)
Well, he believes that Ukrainians will be careful in using the weapons. For example, not hit the Russian mainland, which they seemingly promised to Washington. There are lots of shifting things during this conflict which change basically from day to day. My feeling is that his retaliation may be very simple. He’ll be hitting residential areas of major cities like Kyiv and Kharkiv, maybe if he feels that Ukrainians are overusing the new weaponry. I think what we’ve seen in the last few weeks is this constant to-ing and fro-ing, this kind of swinging, between Ukrainians saying that, well, they really want to win and the West trying to tell them, “Well, could you win more gently?” Especially several European countries were pushing Kyiv to do that. I think by the time Ukrainian army really acquires mastery of these newly delivered Western weapons we’ll see what kind of choice, finally, President Zelenskyy will make.
Speaker 1: (03:02)
You just made a reference to several European countries expressing a little bit of caution. As you know, French president Emmanuel Macron, has warned against humiliating Russia in order to leave diplomatic doors open when the fighting stops. Ukraine is of course not happy with those comments. Is there widespread sense, in the West, that it’s indeed dangerous to corner or humiliate Putin?
Konstantin Eggert : (03:27)
Well, frankly speaking, this is an old song sung in Paris, and there’s nothing new in what Macron said. There are people that sympathize with him in different [inaudible 00:03:39] European capitals, probably in Rome, probably some Berlin. I think that the West is divided on that. We know that, for example, the United Kingdom, central Europe, the Baltics, part of the Nordic countries are actually pushing for a much tougher line against Putin. While, Paris, Berlin, to some extent, Rome, are trying to basically limit the extent to which Ukraine could respond and the West could respond to Putin’s aggression.
Konstantin Eggert : (04:09)
I suppose the perception is that Putin, if cornered, will become really uncontrollable and will do some really horrible things. On the other hand, we can say that Putin always counted on the West considering him to be so mad, so unpredictable, that it will try to plicate him. In this respect, I think what Macron, probably after these a hundred hours … He said he talked with Putin for about a hundred hours, all in the last sort of half a year. I think that Macron seemingly doesn’t understand that this is exactly what Putin wants. He wants the West to see him as so unpredictable and so dangerous that it will limit its pressure.
Speaker 1: (04:49)
We’ll have to leave it there. That’s Konstantin Eggert in Riga. Many thanks, as always.
Let’s go straight to DW correspondent, Nick Connolly, who is standing by and Kyiv. Hello, Nick. What are Ukrainians making of Putin’s comments?
Nick Connolly: (05:04)
Well, obviously the take here, on the streets of Kyiv, is that this is a sign that the Russians genuinely worried about the prospect of these weapons being delivered. It has to be said that these are not long-range missiles, in the sense of cruise missiles or anything of the kind that Russia has, that can go thousands of kilometers. Indeed, the missiles that hit Kyiv this morning, the Russian missiles, will launch over the Caspian Sea, thousands of kilometers away. What we’re talking about here are weapons that can be used with the rocket launch systems that are being delivered presently, which, at present, only have about an 80 to 100 kilometer range. There is the option to go beyond a hundred kilometers up to maybe 300 kilometers in terms of the munitions that the Americans would send the Ukrainians.
Nick Connolly: (05:44)
This is not anything that would give Ukraine capacities on par with more modern militaries in Western Europe or in North America, but it would allow Ukraine to really hit Russia’s supply chain, hit its supply lines and really give it a significant option to really push the Russian forces back while staying at a safer distance. That is something that obviously the Russians think would allow Ukraine to really move forward on the battlefield.
Yeah, we clearly heard what president Putin said earlier. Is the city worried this could be the start of more strikes to come over Western weapon supplies?
Nick Connolly: (06:17)
I mean, Russia and the Kremlin, Vladimir Putin in particular, have been making threats all along. Basically, he’s been threatening nuclear war should the West supply Ukraine with more sophisticated weaponry. This is really nothing new. Indeed, what people are talking about more, here in Ukraine right now, is the fact that a Russian cruise missile was detected on the security cameras of one of Ukraine’s biggest nuclear power stations today. The fact that Russia is willing to fire weapons that have been proven in the past to fail, to go off target, so close to a huge nuclear power station, that really for them is a sign that Russia is not really caring about the risks and whether or not the may try and attack Ukrainian government buildings, the presidential palace here in Kyiv. I think that’s less crucial than just the willingness to really pump up the pressure now that Russia’s military isn’t doing too well in the battlefield.
Okay. On that, Ukraine is claiming it has recaptured large parts of several [inaudible 00:07:10]. If that can be verified. What is the significance of that development?
Nick Connolly: (07:17)
Well, obviously, this has been the central battle on the Donbas front for more than 10 days now. There’ve been predictions, time and time again from Western analysts that it was just a matter of days, or maybe a week at most, before Russia took over the city now that Russia has concentrated its forces on a very small part of the front lines, learning from the lessons of the early months of the war, where Russia spread itself too thinly. But even there, it seems Russia is not achieving the kinds of goals, despite huge numbers of soldiers there, but also a huge superiority in terms of the fire power and the munitions available to Russian forces. Obviously, journalists are not freely able to move around there. So it’s difficult to verify. But just the fact that there are Ukraine troops still in Severodonetsk, the Russians haven’t been able to hoist their flag over the entire city, that will be seen as a victory here in Kyiv.
Okay. DW correspondent, Nick Connolly in Kyiv. Thank you. Well, by the latest attacks in Kyiv, there are some bright spots. Right now, Ukraine’s national football team is playing against Wales in Cardiff for a spot in the World Cup. DW’s Rebecca Ritters is soaking in the atmosphere at a pub in Kyiv. Rebecca, tell us, what’s the mood like?
Rebecca Ritters: (08:32)
I’m having a lot of trouble hearing you Eddie, so I hope that I’m getting this bit right, and that you are [inaudible 00:08:38] now. It is pretty tense here. I’ll give you that. But it’s quite different from the tension that we’ve felt in the city, in recent months. It is a nice reprieve for people here who are able to enjoy some normalcy in the football. One of those people, is Yuriy. He joins me now. Yuriy, just how important is today’s match for Ukraine?
It’s really important match for us because this is the final match, before we can go to the World Cup. It’s really important for us to switch from war theme to something more pleasure to us. Even though today Russia strike six missiles to Kyiv, we are still here and we are trying to enjoy our lives. We’re trying to switch for something more pleasant for us than the war theme.
Rebecca Ritters: (09:22)
Now, we’re just coming back from half time and Wales is one up. How do you think the country will react if they don’t make it through to the World Cup today?
I think we will handle somehow this situation because it is not the biggest problem nowadays. This is just football. There will be another opportunity for us to play the World Cup or Euro Cup, so this is not the end of the world for us.
Rebecca Ritters: (09:48)
All right. Thank you very much. We certainly wish you luck for the second half.
Rebecca Ritters: (09:53)
Eddie, there you have it. A nice light reprieve for people here, who’ve been through a pretty intense day with shelling in the morning, to be able to enjoy some normalcy and watching the football. Everyone here hoping that Ukraine will make it through to the World Cup.
Okay, Rebecca. Thanks for that. Rebecca Ritters there in Kyiv. Many thanks.