The “Northern foothold” is strongly tied by the military alliance with the Russian Federation.
Spokesman for the State Border Service of Ukraine Oleh Slobodyan, who decided to run for the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine from Ihor Smeshko’s Strength and Honor party, said this in an interview with the Charter97.org.
- You are a Ukrainian officer, the Colonel of the borderline service. Why have you decided to run for a People’s Deputy of Ukraine?
- First of all, there was a purely organizational point, my recent contract, which I signed with the State Border Service of Ukraine, is expiring, and I had to decide whether to finish the service, or continue it. I decided not to renew the contract and develop in a slightly different direction.
As for the political component, the last five years have been very difficult both for Ukraine and for those people who are truly and sincerely worried about the future of the country. I just associate myself with such people. I took very close to the heart everything that happened and happens on the territory of Ukraine, it gave me great pain. And in this situation, I could not stay away from the processes that occur, which I see and which worry me.
Therefore, based on all the wealth of choice, in order to be the most effective in the future field of service to Ukraine, I chose the political path and the Strength and Honor party of Ihor Smeshko.
- Why did you choose precisely this party?
- For two reasons. Firstly, this party supports the military, and will do everything necessary for this in the future parliament.
And the second reason is, one of the priorities of the Strength and Honor party is work for the middle class. I consider this an important political mission, including for myself, because now in Ukraine there is a very weak middle class, and if we manage to develop its potential and the middle class in the country becomes stronger, then we will develop the economic component successfully and quickly.
- What else do you plan to change in the country, if you become a member of the Verkhovna Rada? Which draft bills need to be adopted firsthand?
- It is provided for in the ideology and the program of the Strength and Honor party. In the Ukrainian society, there is a demand for a renewed policy, but, on the other hand, professionals should work on changes in the country.
Therefore, our party takes the position that there should be professionals and patriots in the parliament,and on leadership positions. They, above all, do their work honestly.
As for the priority initiatives, then, of course, first of all we will support those that work for Ukraine and its future.
In no case will we cooperate with the pro-Russian parties, we will unite and support only those forces and those decisions that contribute to the restoration of the territorial integrity of Ukraine and the development of our country's economy.
Such bills can be decisions about supporting the middle class, about encouraging people to open their business. These can be “tax holidays” and other legislative decisions that will allow the middle class to feel confident in the state and calmly look to the future.
In this connection, I would like to mention the bills on supporting the Armed Forces of Ukraine, on a transparent social security system for servicemen, on building and providing housing for servicemen, on raising salaries for the military, since the prestige of the army in Ukraine is growing and this is a success that needs to be strengthened.
- Do you think it is necessary to grant Ukrainian citizenship and social support to the foreigners who fight for Ukraine in the Donbas as volunteers?
- Definitely - yes. And it is good that President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has already taken such a step, and already more than 10 people from among the foreigners who are fighting on the side of Ukraine have received the citizenship of our country.
We will definitely support this initiative, and if people shed and will shed blood for Ukraine, they have the full right to citizenship.
- What, in your opinion, should be changed in the policy of Ukraine towards Belarus?
- As far as I know, the internal political situation in Belarus itself is now unstable. In your country, too, multi-vector processes are taking place, including in relation to Ukraine.
As for interstate relations, I think that it is necessary to maintain positive moments wherever they are, and at the same time be diplomatic, but tough in the issues relating to the processes that may affect the interests of Ukraine.
As a border guard, I can say unequivocally: we need to pay attention to strengthening the borders with Belarus. This includes both the demarcation and the engineering arrangement of this area, since there are too many questions in this regard, and a well-fortified border with Belarus will allow us to feel much calmer.
- Can we say that the “Belarusian balcony” now poses a serious threat to Ukraine from the northern direction?
- Belarus is closely connected with the Russian Federation within the framework of the “union treaty”. First of all, this cooperation concerns the military component, which is very clear. From the point of view of a threat to Ukraine, of course, it is necessary to pay close attention to the cooperation of Belarus and the Russian Federation in the military sphere.
Thus, not only Ukraine, but also the NATO countries closely watched the drills “West-2017”.
All of them came to the same conclusion: the Russian Federation, at those drills, was working out a strategy for further offensive in the western direction. Therefore, for Ukraine to underestimate the “northern foothold” and the possible options for the development of military actions, taking into account Belarus, would be very foolish.
- How, in connection with the above, do you assess the decision of the General Staff of Ukraine to create two additional brigades - tank and chasseurs - on the border with Belarus?
- Ukraine is now in a state when there cannot be too much protection. Thus, deployment of new units and formations, also in the north, shows that we continue developing our army and assess the threats correctly.