Gabrielius Landsbergis, Lithuania’s Foreign Minister, also claimed Kyiv would have triumphed “months ago” had Ukraine been provided with the weapons to do the job at the start of Putin’s invasion on February 24, warning of the dangers of what he called “appeasement”. Mr Landsbergis issued his bold declaration in the wake of a string of Ukrainian military successes in recent days, with significant advances in the Kharkiv region forcing Moscow to abandon its main bastion there.
He tweeted: “Putin’s genocidal plan to wipe Ukraine off the map has failed.
“He is in no position to negotiate. The war must end with his unconditional surrender.”
Referring to Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky, who on Friday claimed his armed forces have made huge progress since the start of the month, Mr Landsbergis said: “Ukraine’s heroes have exceeded our expectations daily.”
Thanks to “the inspiring leadership” of Mr Zelensky and others “the definition of impossible has been rewritten”, Mr Landbergis emphasised.
He added: “Ukraine has earned nothing less than our full support in bringing Putin to justice for each and every crime he has committed. There can be no compromises, excuses or exceptions.
“Let me be frank. It is now beyond doubt that Ukraine could have thrown Russia out months ago if they had been provided with the necessary equipment from day one.
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“We must recognise the fact that appeasement did nothing to protect them.
“The people of Ukraine have done more than enough to earn our respect.
“We have been humbled by their achievements. Now we must help them end this war swiftly and forever.”
Mr Landesbergis called for:
- All stockpiles of western advanced armaments (ATACMS, tanks, fighter jets) to be made available to Ukraine
- The creation and enforcement of safe zones around the territories of nuclear power stations, so Putin cannot use them as a weapon
- “Clear red lines” to be drawn and the consequences for crossing them should be made very clear to Putin, so he is deterred from making any “desperate last moves”
- The International Criminal Court and others to be sent to liberated territories to investigate the crimes committed there
- Fast-track integration of Ukraine into NATO and the EU
He added: “No more westsplaining. No more dithering. No more negotiations with terrorists.
“Those who doubted Ukraine’s strength should be apologising. Ukraine defended us all, even when some didn’t believe they could succeed.
“Now is the time for us to show our deep gratitude.”
Ukraine’s chief commander, General Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, said the armed forces had regained control of more than 1,150 square miles since the beginning of September.
Posting on Telegram, he explained: “In the Kharkiv direction, we began to advance not only to the south and east, but also to the north.
“There are 50 km to go to the state border with Russia.”
In the worst defeat for Moscow’s forces since they were repelled from the outskirts of the capital Kyiv in March, thousands of Russian soldiers left behind ammunition and equipment as they fled the city of Izium, which they had used as a logistics hub.