Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has cited the concept of a “big Israel” as a model for a post-war Ukraine, as the country continues to struggle under the Russian invasion.
Speaking during a briefing to media on Tuesday, the Ukrainian president warned that Ukrainian society would have to behave under a stage of siege even after the end of the conflict with Russia.
“Ukraine will definitely not be what we wanted it to be from the beginning. It is impossible. Absolutely liberal, European – it will not be like that,” he said.
“We will become a ‘big Israel’ with its own face. We will not be surprised if we have representatives of the Armed Forces or the National Guard in cinemas, supermarkets, and people with weapons. I am confident that the question of security will be the issue number one for the next ten years. I am sure of it.”
Despite this, he said the country would not become “an authoritarian state”, which he said was “impossible” in Ukraine.
“An authoritarian state would lose to Russia. People know what they are fighting for,” he said.
Zelensky, who is Jewish, has long hailed Israel as a model for his country, though he has also been critical of the Israeli government’s decision to maintain a relatively neutral line on the conflict.