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In Hebrew, Zelensky aide vows Ukraine won’t surrender to Putin’s ‘personal madness’

Speaking with Israeli TV, Vladislav Roitberg accuses Russia of targeting and killing civilians, says attack that damaged Babyn Yar area is ‘illogical’

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's top adviser Vladislav Roitberg in an interview with Channel 12 news, on March 1, 2022. (Screenshot)
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's top adviser Vladislav Roitberg in an interview with Channel 12 news, on March 1, 2022. (Screenshot)

An adviser to Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky vowed the Ukrainian people will stand strong as Russia invades and not surrender to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “personal madness.”

“We are a very strong people and we are very determined, we will not let him [Putin] move forward, we will not go one step back,” Vladislav Roitberg said in Hebrew during an interview Tuesday with Israel’s Channel 12 news.

“Everyone is ready for any scenario, for any advance of the [Russian] army. We are seeing civilians are already repelling their army. We see their losses, which have already risen to above 5,000. This is a real war.”

Roitberg also accused the Russian army of targeting civilian areas.

“They hit populated buildings, there are people who were injured there, there are people who were killed, there are trapped inside the rubble,” he said.

“They are bombing the main square in Kharkiv, one of Ukraine and Europe’s biggest main squares. This makes no sense whatsoever. They are bombing kindergartens and orphanages.”

The International Criminal Court announced this week that it has opened an  investigation into possible Russian war crimes in its invasion. Ukraine said more than 350 civilians, including 14 children, have been killed in the conflict.

A man looks at the gutted remains of Russian military vehicles on a road in the town of Bucha, close to the capital Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 1, 2022. (AP Photo/Serhii Nuzhnenko)

“We have a war here that has not only crossed every possible red line, but is also starting to reek of The Hague,” Roitberg said, referring to the International Criminal Court.

Commenting on Tuesday’s airstrike on Kyiv’s main television tower, which killed five and also damaged the nearby Babyn Yar Holocaust site, Roitberg said he could not comprehend such an action.

“As a Jew and also the president being Jewish, we always said ‘no more,’ and 80 years later, there is a direct hit on Babyn Yar,” he said. “They smashed everything there with a missile that went into the monument. That sounds illogical to me.”

Ukrainian firefighters work to put out a blaze in a building in the Jewish cemetery located in Kyiv’s Babyn Yar Holocaust memorial site, on March 1, 2022. (State Emergency Service of Ukraine)

Asked about Israel’s position on the conflict, Roitberg did not directly comment, but said he was “thankful to all the countries in the world for sending aid.”

Israel, which has good ties with both Kyiv and Moscow, has largely refrained from commenting on the crisis in apparent bid to maintain military coordination in Russian client Syria, where it is seeking to prevent Iran and its proxies from establishing a foothold.

Roitberg vowed at the end of the interview that Ukraine would eventually win the war, despite Russia’s military advantages.

“We will defeat everyone because we are determined and we believe we will succeed in defending,” Roitberg said. “This is a country that has no qualms with any other country in the world, this is the most democratic country there is. We want every inch to remain intact so that no one enters here and dictates laws to us. We want to be sovereign, we will fight for our sovereignty to the end.”

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