World was not afraid of Russia enough – Timothy Snyder

November 1,2023 1241
World was not afraid of Russia enough – Timothy Snyder

The security of Europe is impossible without the security of Ukraine, so Ukraine should be a member of both the European Union and NATO, says American historian Timothy Snyder in an interview for the Ukrainian media NV.

I’ve been working in Ukraine for almost 30 years, and what Ukraine means to people now is very different from what it meant two years ago. That is, you can only be a family member when someone knows that you exist. And now everyone knows that Ukraine exists, and the associations that people in Europe and the United States have with Ukraine and Ukrainians are generally positive. But there is an institutional issue that is more complicated. I think Ukraine should be a member of both the European Union and NATO so that both institutions will continue to function,” Snyder explained.

Europe will be safe if Ukraine integrates correctly, the historian added. “So even if you don’t care about Ukraine, you should still think about it as the missing piece of your security. If we can integrate Ukraine correctly, everything will probably be fine with the rest of Europe. And I continue to think so and insist on it,” Snyder said.

Currently, Ukraine does a lot for other countries when it opposes Russia. The armed forces of Ukraine actually fulfill the mission of NATO and also reduce the probability of war in the Pacific Ocean, the historian believes. At the same time, Snyder says that the world was not sufficiently afraid of Russia.

We thought that Russia has become a normal country, that [Russian dictator Vladimir] Putin is a normal leader in essence, that he’s just a technocrat and is only interested in money. Therefore, I think that in the 2010s, we didn’t pay attention to the fact that Russia has become a completely different country. In my opinion, it was an oligarchic fascist country, these ideas were already important to Putin. I think we missed that period, didn’t notice it,” Snyder said.

The biggest risk that countries can take now is not to make sure that Ukraine will win. “Because all these things I mentioned and a few more, such as the risk of nuclear war or the preservation of international law, depend on Ukraine’s victory. Therefore, the biggest risk we can take as a world is not helping you win,” Snyder concluded.

Read Timothy Snyder’s full interview for NV at the link.