Dangerous words | 

Ukrainian MP says Sabina Higgins is ‘underinformed’ over peace talk calls with Russia

‘I do understand that it is extremely easy to comment on the war when you are not inside the war, and when it is not your country that is being attacked’

Sabina and President Higgins

Neil FetherstonhaughSunday World

A Ukrainian MP has said Sabina Higgins is “underinformed” after the president’s wife suggested that now is the time for peace talks with Russia.

Kira Rudik was speaking to Newstalk after Ms Higgins wrote a letter to the Irish Times, expressing her opinion on the ongoing conflict with Russia.

Ms Higgins said she was "disappointed" that a recent editorial "did not encourage any ceasefire negotiations that might lead towards a peace settlement between the Russians, the Ukrainian forces and the separatists.

"Until the world persuades President Vladimir Putin of Russia and President Volodymyr Zelenskiy of Ukraine to agree to a ceasefire and negotiations, the long haul of terrible war will go on. How can there be any winner?", she wrote.

A link to the letter has since been removed from the Áras an Uachtaráin website.

However, Ms Rudik told The Hard Shoulder that she believes Mrs Higgins was “underinformed”.

"I do understand that it is extremely easy to comment on the war when you are not inside the war, and when it is not your country that is being attacked,” she said.

"And as a country that had been in war with Russia for the last eight years, we definitely know that it is not enough for one side to want peace - it needs to be mutual."

In relation to Ms Higgins’ comments, Ms Rudik added: “I wouldn't call it naive; I would call it underinformed because when you look at the way how Russia behaved for the last eight years - when you look at the last five and a half months - you would understand that there is no way of peaceful negotiations".

Ms Rudik says the prospect of negotiations means Russia gets away with its invasion.

"These talks are extremely dangerous - because basically what is written in the letter is 'let's make peace' - so we will allow [the] bully, allow [the] aggressive country to get away with what they have done.

"And there is an emotional side of this matter.

"Today Russia bombarded the captives camp and killed 53 people - 53 men who will never return home, because Russia decided so.

"And yesterday there was a peaceful bus station in one of the cities of Ukraine that was hit by a missile.

"Five people were killed - these people woke up in the morning, they went to get some cup of coffee or they were waiting for their children to go back from school and they just died.

"What kind of peace could be there? It's very dangerous to say the word 'peace' especially when you're talking about the aggressor".

And she says there are no guarantees that Russian President Putin would keep his word.

"When you have a country like Russia that attacked another sovereign country, what kind of negotiations can be there?

"And what are their ways to ensure that Putin, after these negotiations, wouldn't go further?"

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