He also said it was time for the West to “end the problem of Putin” and urged NATO members to send Ukraine as many weapons as it asks for. Riho Terras is an Estonian MEP, who previously served as the Chief of Defence of his country for seven years between 2011 and 2018. The former General told Express.co.uk that Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine was intended to wipe out the very idea of Ukrainian national identity, as Moscow seeks to re-establish its empire.
He said: “We should understand that Putin’s aim is to liquidate Ukraine as a nation.
“But that is not his ultimate aim. His final aim is to change the security architecture in Europe and he wants to gain territories. It is a colonial war.”
He added that Putin’s invasion of Ukraine was part of a broader campaign to destroy Western democracy and the values underpinning it.
He explained: “Medvedev has said Putin wants to see a common space from Vladivostok to Lisbon which only tells me it is not about Ukraine.
“It is about the Western value community with which he wants to fight.”
The Russian leader has on numerous occasions questioned the right of Ukraine to call itself an independent nation.
A day after ordering troops to advance into the Donbas in late February, Putin claimed the country had never had its “own authentic statehood”.
Furthermore, he said Ukraine was “an integral part of our own history, culture and spiritual space.”
Putin has often spoken of Russians as living in a “divided nation” ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union and has talked about the “aspiration of the Russian world, of historic Russia” to be reunited.
He has also stressed the existence of a “broad Russian civilisation”, which needs to be protected from external forces – particularly from the West.
As Russian forces continue to prepare for what many experts believe will be a massive attack in Ukraine’s east, President Volodmyr Zelensky has pleaded with Western leaders to send Kyiv more weapons.
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Mr Terras believes that if Ukraine’s army is supplied with sufficient offensive arms, it could not only repel a new attack, but also retake territories currently under Russian occupation.
He said: “The Ukrainians have shown us they will fight and if they have capable modern weapons they can defend European values in Ukraine without European soldiers being involved directly.
“They are able to win this battle. To defend Kharkiv, to take back Mariupol, Kherson I see as a real possibility if the air cover is there and they have offensive weapons.”
The offensive weapons would include multiple rocket launchers, battle tanks, armoured vehicles and ballistic missiles – harpoon type.
The Estonian MEP warned Western leaders that a victorious Putin in Ukraine would pose serious security problems in the near future and therefore the Russian tyrant must be defeated now.
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He explained: “I quote Winston Churchill – in the darkest hour he said we don’t need peace, we need victory.
“We don’t need a weak peace because then Putin keeps on doing what he’s doing and what he’s done since he gained his office.
“Three months after becoming prime minister, he destroyed Grozny, attacked Georgia, then Crimea and Donbas, eight years later Ukraine.
“So he will come back to us, he will. We need to fight him right now and end this problem of Putin.”