The Address of the Ambassador of Ukraine to the Republic of Cyprus H.E. Ruslan Nimchynskyi to the mass-media

Yesterday, January 10, 2024, in Nicosia, the Ambassador of Ukraine to the Republic of Cyprus, H.E. Mr. Ruslan NIMCHYNSKYI briefed the Cypriot media on the latest events related to the Russian military aggression against Ukraine and the terrorist attacks of Russia against the civilian infrastructure of Ukraine.

The main topics of his address were the massive missile strikes by the aggressor on Ukrainian cities and civilian objects; the state of implementation of President Vladimir Zelensky’s Formula of Peace; Ukraine’s European integration; the importance of strengthening sanctions pressure on the aggressor country; Ukraine’s efforts in continuing the implementation of the Black Sea Grain Initiative; the latest narratives of the Kremlin propaganda, etc.

The briefing was attended by correspondents of the leading Cypriot media.

The Address of the Ambassador of Ukraine to the Republic of Cyprus H.E. Ruslan Nimchynskyi to the mass-media

Aftermaths of massive Russian missile attacks over Ukraine on 29-31 December, 2023 – 2 January, 2024

Russia escalates terror against Ukraine.
In 2023, Ukraine has overcome 6,000 air alerts.
Almost every night, Ukrainians woke up to sirens and went down to the shelter to protect their children from enemy missiles and drones.
Our Air Defence Forces worked every night and every day, heroically defending the Ukrainian skies.
Recently several unprecedented massive missile strikes and «Shahid» drones attacks against Ukraine were carried out on 29-31 December 2023 and 2 January 2024, exclusively against civil population and infrastructure, have become the most brutal and devastating since the beginning of the unprovoked full-scale aggression against Ukraine on 24th February 2022.
More than 190 cruise and aero ballistic missiles were launched by Russian terrorists, including 10 hypersonic Kh-47M2 “Kinzhal” missiles killing more than 60 and injuring more than 160 people.
Ukraine repelled the largest-ever combined missile attack, including the use of hypersonic weapons.
Ukrainian Forces proved their skills along with Western air defense systems, (such as Patriot and IRIS-T) which proved their effectiveness and superiority over Russian weapons.
The unprecedented massive missile strikes of Russia has resulted in the destruction or damage of over 120 private houses, along with 60 multi-story buildings, schools, churches, hospitals, maternity wards, and numerous commercial and warehouse establishments.
These attacks showed a record-high number of missiles used. Russia had been preparing for this act of terror for a long time.
Strengthening the protection of the Ukrainian sky with additional modern air defence systems and missiles is a number one priority and vital necessity for Ukrainians because the enemy will only continue to increase the intensity of attacks.
The other top priority — Artillery, including 155 mm calibre, electronic warfare equipment, new drones, and other necessary items.

We are extremely grateful to all our partners and allies who are already forming new support packages.
There is also alarming information that in the recent attacks Russia has used ballistic missiles received from N Korea to attack Ukraine at least twice.
The DPRK is one of the most militarized states in the world, so its willingness to sponsor Russian aggression against other countries is a serious threat.
We would like to draw your attention that in exchange for providing ballistic missiles, the North Korean regime, which threatens its neighbours and the United States with war, may be willing to receive military technology from Russia to prepare in future for its own more aggressive and devastating wars.
Moscow and Pyongyang deserve tougher sanctions and comprehensive international isolation. This is a matter of global security.
We do believe that the said issue would be carefully studied during the upcoming UNSC meeting, which is scheduled on 10 January, 2024 and the following appropriate decisions would be taken.
We must withstand Russian terror and defend our Democracies.

Ukraine and its partners are working closely to step up international support for the Ukrainian Peace Formula.
Its complete implementation will become a foundation that will enable us to stop tyranny in the world in the future.
The Peace Formula has already become an international ecosystem. Now it is an integrated structure. And its elements are closely interconnected. It is a framework onto which executive mechanisms are mounted. A just, comprehensive, and lasting peace is only possible as a result of collective will and collective efforts.
Responsible states that respect international law should stay united and committed to saving the world. The prevention of war can only be achieved through reliable multilateral security guarantees for Ukraine.
The Republic of Cyprus has become the 30th nation to join the Vilnius Declaration of the Group of Seven in November 2023, supporting a Declaration on Security Guarantees for Ukraine. We are deeply grateful to the President Mr. Nikos Christodulides and the Government.
Ukraine is grateful to its partners for their support of President Zelenskyy’s Peace Formula. As the fourth meeting of national security advisors is going to take place in mid-January, we are focused on the discussion of points 6-10 of the Ukrainian initiative. It would be a continuation of the fruitful dialogue, which we had during the meeting in Malta in October on paragraphs 1-5 of the Peace Formula.
Peace Formula is the only way to restore a comprehensive, just, and lasting peace. Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within internationally recognized borders must be restored.
Russia must withdraw all of its military forces from the temporarily occupied territories and cease the hostilities against Ukraine (para 6). Any so-called “peace plans”, which do not take into account these provisions, are a recipe for prolonging the aggression and encouraging the aggressor.
As long as Putin and his clique don’t show a slightest inclination to negotiate anything but full destruction of Ukraine, every “negotiate now” call only makes him dig his heels deeper in Ukrainian soil. Putin must stop what he is doing. The Russian Federation must cease its aggression, which brings destruction in different fields — including the environment, which is prohibited in international law (para 8). It must be held to account for any violations of international law in or against Ukraine (para 7).
In order to prevent the escalation of the war or the repetition of aggression, strong obligations and security commitments and arrangements should be provided to Ukraine (para 9).
Peace could be achieved when this war of aggression starts hurting Russia much more than it does now – because of the sanctions, financial losses and defeats on the battlefield. Only then it would be possible to force Moscow to stop its aggression and to return respect to the Goals and Principles of the UN Charter — and to confirm the end of the war (para 10).

The Kremlin’s unprovoked and unjustified war against Ukraine has caused serious damage to the Ukrainian economy and exacerbated global food insecurity, especially in developing countries. Russia blocked Ukrainian trade routes across the Black Sea, mined Ukrainian agricultural fields, burned crops, destroyed Ukraine’s food supplies, created labor shortages, and attacked merchant ships and ports.
On 17 July 2023, Russia withdrew from the Black Sea Grain Initiative and started attacking Ukrainian ports storing grain intended for export. (6) As a result of massive attacks since Russia’s withdrawal from the Initiative, Ukraine suffered a reduction in the export potential of its ports by 40%, and over 300,000 tons of grain were destroyed. The export of grain cargoes to the countries of Asia, Africa, and Europe was reduced by almost 3 million tons per month.
In the frame of this Initiative, Ukraine exported over 33 million tons of agricultural products to 45 countries, and 60% of the volumes went to the countries of Africa and Asia.
The Kremlin continues to block Ukrainian ports and threaten civilian ships carrying food, while Russian missile strikes destroy Ukrainian grain warehouses and transport hubs.
But even in these difficult conditions, Ukraine is ready to remain a guarantor of global food security.
Despite the terrorist war of the Russian Federation against Ukraine, daily missile attacks, mining of Ukrainian ports, and shelling of farms, Ukraine harvested 55 million tons of grain last year and exported 85 percent of it.
Ukraine continues to implement the Initiative using alternative routes. On 8 August, 2023 temporary routes for civilian vessels to/from the Black Sea ports of Ukraine came into effect.
The most promising in terms of grain export is the Danube corridor. On 3 October, Lithuania agreed on a corridor for Ukrainian grain transit to the Baltic ports. On 10 October President Zelenskyy announced the establishment of a new grain corridor through Moldova and Romania. On 17 October, the Port of Riga received the first test container train with Ukrainian agricultural products. We are consistently increasing the throughput of all corridors combined. The Ukrainian Government approved new rules for exporting agricultural products to make it impossible to abuse and violate the law during the export as well as to protect the rights of agricultural entrepreneurs who comply with export legislation.
Ukraine communicates actively with its partners to set up “Grain hubs” to store Ukrainian grain in seaports warehouses regionally and to ensure its swift shipment to the countries of the Middle East and Africa.
The implementation of such an ambitious infrastructure project, with the involvement of interested partners, regional powers and international financial structures, will contribute to the strengthening of global food security and will allow a flexible response to the needs of regional markets.
We continue to work to strengthen global food security. Proving its genuine devotion to guaranteeing food security, Ukraine has also launched an important humanitarian program, “Grain from Ukraine,” initiated by President Zelenskyy. Within its framework, Ukraine provided grain free of charge to those in need, especially in countries of Africa.
Approximately 34 countries joined the Initiative. The program raised 200 million USD in donations and sent 170,000 tons of wheat to Ethiopia (90,000 tons), Somalia (25,000 tons), Yemen (30,000 tons), and Kenya (25,000 tons). Ukraine intends to send more ships with humanitarian grain to African countries: 25,000 tons to Nigeria, 32,000 tons to Sudan, and 12,500 tons to Somalia.
We call on countries around the globe to join this Initiative.
The grain export blockade from Ukraine is an attempt by Russia to cause a famine in the whole world seeking that its conditions are met.
A joint response of Ukraine and our partners will enable us to defuse the food crisis and save millions of people from hunger, and social chaos.

The EU decision to start the accession talks with Ukraine is a truly historic decision that duly rewards Ukraine’s dedication to its European future and proves the EU’s ability to be the driver of the history of the continent.
We value Cyprus` active support of Ukraine’s integration efforts towards the EU.
We appreciate the Cypriot Government’s support for the decision to start negotiations on accession to the EU that was adopted during the December meeting of the European Council.
Ukraine’s EU membership will enrich the Union with new practical perspectives and broaden its historic horizon. We are immensely thankful for this sign of confidence in the Ukrainian people in a time of turmoil – and will live up to Europe’s trust.
Ukraine knows that the path of accession is long and narrow. Yet one shouldn’t doubt its ability to do what it takes to reach the destination successfully.
On a number of occasions in recent years, Ukrainians proved their ability not only to make difficult political and economic decisions for the sake of their European dream but also to fight and even die for it. In the long run, there’s nothing more important for Ukrainians than becoming a better nation – more prosperous, successful, and just. We see these things in the EU and reach out to them.

Sanctions against Russia must be strengthened. Both existing ones—it is critical to eliminate any circumvention schemes—and we are also working to tighten sanctions. The architecture of sanctions pressure on Russia must be strengthened. Another priority task is to bring real decisions on the use of Russian assets in Ukraine’s interests closer, as well as their subsequent confiscation, in order to restore justice. The terrorist must pay for the the damage they caused, and Russia will pay.
Our key priorities are to strengthen sanctions against the major sectors of Russia`s economy (nuclear energy, oil/gas price caps, the military-industrial complex, full sanctions on Gazprom, diamonds, metallurgy).
Frozen Russian assets will be used for the reconstruction and recovery of Ukraine, in particular in the areas, which were damaged the most since the full-scale invasion. There are funds that otherwise would be spent for Russia’s military needs and further terrorist attacks. We call on our partners to expedite necessary decisions to adopt relevant mechanisms, in particular within the framework of countermeasures.

We are grateful to Cyprus, which hospitably sheltered more than 20 thousand Ukrainians, and continues to provide for their medical, social, and educational needs.
Ukraine highly appreciates the position of the Republic of Cyprus regarding the decisive support of Ukraine in this difficult time for our country. It is extremely important for us.

Final words
Russia’s international isolation continues to grow. After failing to be elected to the International Court of Justice, the IMO, UNESCO, and the OPCW executive boards in November, Russia suffered another diplomatic defeat at the Danube Commission, one of the world’s oldest international organizations.
Russia escalates terror against Ukraine. We expect all states to strongly condemn the attack and take resolute action. Here are the five steps that can be taken right now: 1. Expedite the delivery of additional air defense systems and ammunition to Ukraine; 2. Provide Ukraine with combat drones of all types; 3. Provide Ukraine with long-range missiles of 300 km+ range; 4. Approve the use of frozen Russian assets for assisting Ukraine.
Russian troops are fighting Ukrainian women, children, the elderly, and civilians. The crimes that Russia has committed in Ukraine today are its revenge for its inability to turn the tide of the battle in the fight against the Ukrainian defense forces
We call on the international community to unite all efforts to stop the Russian genocide of the Ukrainian people. No talk of a «truce», «temporary relinquishment of territories», «fatigue», «negotiations» and other «concessions» will stop Russian aggression, but will only inflate its scale. Russia is not considering any other scenarios than the complete destruction of Ukraine.
In this context, we are deeply grateful to our partners who have provided our country with air and missile defense equipment. Today, your help has saved many lives.
The only possible way to protect Ukrainians is to provide Ukraine with all the necessary military and financial means to defend itself. Russian terror must lose, and Ukraine must win.

Debunking Russia’s false narratives

“The West is tired of Ukraine and abandoning it”

In reality, the latest surveys in the US and Germany show growing overall public support for increased aid for Ukraine. Partial disappearance of Ukraine from headlines doesn’t mean a change in attitudes, both at the level of governments and at the level of societies. The political support of Ukraine remains unwavering. The majority of people in the world have made their minds about this war right in the beginning of it, and there are no objective reasons to change it. Ukrainians are still defending their land, and Russians – trying to grab the land that isn’t theirs.

“Russia can’t be defeated on the frontline”

Factually wrong. Russia has been defeated on the frontline many times in its history. Most prominent cases – the Crimean war of 1853-56; the Russo-Japanese war of 1904-1905; the WWI, in which Soviet Russia accepted peace on German conditions and exited the war in March 1918; the Afghan war of 1979-1989.

“Russia merely wants to stop the NATO extension”

This war was never about NATO extension. Putin and his propagandists speak about “taking what’s historically ours”, which makes it a classic war of conquest: a former empire drags a former colony back into its shadow. NATO did everything to avoid the war. Many high-ranking guests visited Moscow in 2021 and begged Putin not to do it. Russia’s response was the smug ultimatum of January 9, 2022: “pack your things and move back to the 1997 borders”.

“Peace treaty was ready in Istanbul, but Boris Johnson stopped it”

Ukraine never agreed to anything in Istanbul on the level of decision-makers. And after we saw what Russia did in Bucha (systematically slaughtering males between 18 and 60), many things became non-starters even on a level of discussion.

“Why don’t you negotiate?”

There are still zero indications that Russia is ready to negotiate anything but Ukraine’s capitulation.

“Anything is better than this horrific war!”

What is that “anything”? Living in Russia’s slavery? Emigrating? Seeing your dear ones vanish in gulags? Giving up your identity? Making other people sacrifice their homes so that yours remains untouched? Try to put yourself in Ukrainian shoes before making suggestions of a life-changing magnitude!

“Russia is making significant gains, while Ukraine is losing the war”

Factually wrong. During 2023, Russia has not made significant territorial gains, while Ukrainian armed forces liberated a great part of Ukraine’s occupied territory. With the situation on the frontline being dynamic, nevertheless, the Ukrainian army is holding the line. Meanwhile Russia has lost its absolute domination in the Black Sea. The situation of the Russian military in Crimea grows more dire with every day.

At the end of the briefing, journalists asked many questions to the Ukrainian ambassador, to which they received detailed answers. A Cyprus Daily News correspondent also asked Ruslan Nymchynskyy a question.

Question: The Russians, the Russian government use propaganda and disinformation as a weapon.
Through propaganda and disinformation they are trying to manipulate public opinion in Western countries. This is done in order to increase the influence on the governments of Western countries. This is therefore happening everywhere in the EU countries and in Cyprus among others.
What measures should be taken to stop the free spread of Russian propaganda in European countries, including Cyprus.

Answer: What we are witnessing in relation to Russia’s war against Ukraine. This phenomenon was developed before the war. Russian propaganda and false narratives are not a common phenomenon, they are a lethal tool, a weapon in the arsenal of the Kremlin. They are disseminated through numerous channels and in various ways. We can see, mostly from the media of different countries, how different countries react to Russian false narratives and propaganda. Different countries react differently. The countries with the greatest efforts to combat these phenomena are those that have sad, painful experience of being under Moscow’s control. These are the former Soviet and now free Baltic states-Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and the countries of the former socialist camp-Poland, Czech Republic, Bulgaria and others. It is important to realize that propaganda is a weapon, a tool that can cause harm and that can kill any society from within. I think that those who disseminate information should be professionals and should be very careful to confirm the authenticity of information before offering it to the public. This is not about freedom of speech. This is about efforts to prevent Russia from brainwashing people with its propaganda, indoctrinating them with false agendas, creating non-existent news and trying to influence public opinion in other countries. One of the tools we use, and we should use it, is available fact-checking capabilities. This is nothing new. Professionals and diplomats know how to do it. Fact-checking is essential to avoid falling prey to propaganda. Russian propaganda is not something that was born yesterday. It is a sophisticated tool that has its roots in Soviet propaganda and that has been refined and modernized to the point where some of the false narratives are effective even in democracies. Even there, the false narratives of Russian propaganda work. Therefore, we need to be very careful and responsible in analyzing information and fact-checking. Information comes in huge volumes every day and you need to be able to check it in a short time. For this you need to be a high-class professional.