Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki told CNN on Thursday he believed Russian troops would aim “very soon” to capture a third of Ukraine’s territory and that Moscow would use it to strengthen its negotiating hand.
“I see the Russian troops regrouping, reorganizing. I think they will try to encircle the Ukrainian forces very soon, especially in the Donbass region. And then after capturing a third of the land in Ukraine, they will want to negotiate from this… very strong position,” the prime minister told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in an exclusive interview.
In a virtual address to Australia’s parliament on Thursday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called for new sanctions against Russia and warned of big implications for global security if Russia is not stopped.
Speaking to Amanpour, Morawiecki said Ukraine’s allies must continue to impose a “crushing set of sanctions”.
Moscow “fears long-term sanctions,” he told CNN. “We are advocating for the confiscation of their assets and doing everything we can to stop buying Russian oil and gas.”
Despite the fact that Western allies have already imposed harsh sanctions, the Prime Minister warned that the price of the Russian ruble remained largely stable and that this was proof that “for now Putin and his people have been able to change the policy fiscal policy, monetary policy, financial policy so that they are to some extent insulated from sanctions…at least for the next few months.
“For the next few weeks and the next two months, Russia is prepared for this war. I don’t know if the West, if the United States, the European Union and NATO are also prepared. … Our public opinion will grow weary of this war,” he said.
Morawiecki also warned that while “the Ukrainians are fighting with lion’s hearts”, the West must urgently increase its supply of weapons to the country, directly calling on the United States to “act quickly, please please, act quickly because they [Ukraine] fight for our values, our universal values.”
“We must help Ukrainians defend their country as quickly as possible. Our days are their hours, our weeks [are] their days; they need weapons here and now. … Russia is a big country, a big country full of raw materials, raw materials, resources… They have a big army. That is why they can again and again regroup and reorganize,” he added.