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"We were given 21 days at most." Danilov on Ze's white shirt, Mariupol, and World War III

The Page collage

The Page collage

Photo and illustration — president.gov.ua, artstation.com/stanislavlunin

Almost two months have passed since the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine began. From the very beginning, the partners predicted only a guerrilla war and gave us 21 days at most. Now the situation has changed.

The Page has compiled the most vibrant quotes from the interview of the NSDC Secretary Oleksiy Danilov to Sevgil Musaieva, editor-in-chief of the outlet Ukrayinska Pravda (lit. Ukrainian Truth).


Photo: president.gov.ua

Photo: president.gov.ua

First signals about invasion

"On October 30, the first publication about the concentration of troops in the Western media appeared, it was The Washington Post. In fact, preparations for war began much earlier. We realized that the Russian Federation would sooner or later try to take our country."

On concentration camps in Siberia

Quote"On September 6, 2021, an article by Shoigu was published that was titled "On the New Cities of Siberia". Having carefully read it at that time, we understood that this was a desire to build Siberia at the expense of our citizens.

On preparing for offensive

Quote"One of our first steps was to start fighting against the fifth column."

"There were a lot of decisions of the National Security and Defense Council on this matter, there were a lot of drills, the officer corps of all territorial defense battalions was formed."

Quote"For us, the onslaught was not news. But there were troubles that Belarus decided to take part in it. We really didn't expect it. A couple of days before that, there were phone calls to the Minister of Defense of Belarus, and we were assured that they would not take part in it."

"War is in general an unexpected thing. You cannot fully calculate the war, in no way. Because it follows its own rules, according to its own laws."

Quote"If someone says that it is possible to prepare for war, this is a mirage. You cannot fully prepare for war."

On evacuating population

Photo: Getty Images

Photo: Getty Images

Quote"What happened in Bucha, in Irpin, and in Hostomel — it could happen anywhere in our country."

"We could not evacuate our population anywhere. It was simply physically impossible to do. Today there is a war going on, and we have territories from which the authorities are begging: "Go, leave!", but they don’t want to do this."

Quote"When people sit and contemplate: "You had to evacuate!"... Well, listen, for this it was necessary to clearly understand that it would be right here. We had to evacuate the whole country, please tell me?"
Photo: president.gov.ua

Photo: president.gov.ua

"It was necessary to evacuate Bucha. OK then. And did Chernihiv need to be evacuated? Did Sumy need to be evacuated? And Kherson? And Mykolaiv? People who say this just don't understand the scope."

On Russians’ atrocities

Quote"We could not even imagine that the Russians, their troops would do this to the civilians. It just goes beyond any common sense."

On night of invasion and first days

"The invasion began at 3:40 in the Luhansk region at the Milove sector, but we thought that they were entering precisely through the territory of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. We believed that their goal after recognizing the republics was to take them within the regions.

Photo: president.gov.ua

Photo: president.gov.ua

Quote"Somewhere in 1 hour and 20 minutes, the offensive began everywhere. I immediately went to the President, Denys Monastyrskyi was already there, I arrived second. Volodymyr Oleksandrovych was wearing a white shirt, and, you know... I remember it so well... He said: "Well? We're gonna fight!"

"The first 3-4-5 days of the war are generally the most difficult times. A lot of decisions are being made these days, for many they are fundamental ones: someone wants to flee, someone wants to urgently take out some of their fortune. The first days — they are absolutely defining."

On plans to eliminate Zelenskyy

Photo: president.gov.ua

Photo: president.gov.ua

Quote"In the early days, we received a lot of information about plans for the physical elimination of our President."

"All the reports that our partners' intelligence provided us were about concentration camps, filtration camps, as well as the physical elimination of the President and senior political leadership."

Quote"And it was my fate that every time I had to emphasize such a threat to the President. And this, of course, annoyed him, but I could not, I have a circular.

"For the first time it was on February 22 in the evening at 19:10, when we received a completely secret document stating that an attack on the President could be carried out shortly. I immediately contacted the President, we met, and he said: "What, again?" I said that this should be treated very carefully, you are the highest official of a large country. And in no case should you joke about it, because this is a very serious thing."

About Ze's refusal to leave Kyiv

Photo: president.gov.ua

Photo: president.gov.ua

"I spoke with the President on the same day, and I clearly realized that the President was not going anywhere from here. He said:

Quote"I can’t give it up, no matter what, we will stay here in Kyiv because this is the capital."

There were a lot of proposals for him to leave the city."

On unity of politicians

"On February 24, after voting on martial law, the President invited all the heads of the factions to his office. He said:

Quote"Let’s forget everything that was before, we work as one team, we are Ukraine, we are one team, let’s do that."

Not everyone withstood this because, unfortunately, for many politicians, the political component prevails over national interests."

On disbelief in Ukraine

Photo: Max Levin

Photo: Max Levin

Quote"One of the intelligence services gave 21 days at most for the complete capture of our country, and the war should switch to the regime of guerrilla warfare."

"They believed that we would not be able to resist the second army of the world. When we tried to prove to them that this was not entirely true, they were a little annoyed that we were not aware of all the problems.

Quote"All their assessments indicated that we could not have abilities and opportunities."

On aid from West

"At first, the partners were very cautious in providing certain means, especially in the early days, because they did not believe in us. And then step by step we started getting, getting, and getting. I think this aid will increase."

On liberating territories

Photo: General Staff of the AFU

Photo: General Staff of the AFU

"The Kyiv, Zhytomyr, Sumy, and Chernihiv regions. They were liberated precisely thanks to our military, thanks to the resistance."

Quote"In the Sumy region, few people imagine how the partisans worked there. The Sumy region was number one in the partisan movement."

On saving Mariupol

"As for Mariupol. I want everyone to realize that now, thanks to the fact that the guys are there, they are distracting large groups of Russian troops precisely towards themselves."

Quote"When we started sending helicopters there at night, and when we asked what they needed, they asked for ammunition. Not water, not food, although that was also supplied."

"Believe me, everything that is possible and impossible is being done. If there was at least one physical opportunity to solve this issue, we would solve it."

Quote"We appeal to everyone, to whom it is only possible, but for some it is the Azov fighters who are there like a red rag. For some reason, they believe that they are Nazis, like all of us.

On chemical and nuclear weapons

"There were drills with people. As for antidotes, we already have plenty of them in hospitals. As for the healthcare system itself, today it is more or less ready for different scenarios."

Quote"On nuclear weapons, the situation is more complicated there. But, nevertheless, we are also preparing for possible scenarios. There is an understanding of the medications that need to be taken, with iodine, and what people need to be protected with.

On dragged-out war

"Tough question. Processes will begin in Russia. I have repeatedly said that the result of this situation will be the collapse of the Russian Federation. It will collapse like an artificial formation, and it will be during our lifetime."

Quote"At one "perfect" moment in Russia, something may happen, and the war can end immediately."

On Russians and peace

kramatorsk-kollazh2.jpeg
Quote"They don’t want to win until May 9th. They want victory over our country. Their task does not change: eliminating our country, our nation, and, accordingly, eliminating the President.

"There could be a truce. But what we mean is that until there is a victory for one side or the other, the war will not end."

Quote"I do not believe in any peace treaty with the Russian Federation. During our history, we have already had lots and lots of them. And they constantly violated them.

"I would like to warn: whoever thinks that victory is already in our bag, that everything is fine — the enemy is cunning, the enemy is tricky. There are still a lot of things that we need to do."

Quote"It will be difficult for us. And when people say that everything has already passed, no, there will still be battles. And it all depends on our army. And, of course, on partners.

On real victory

Photo: t.me/geekjournalua/

Photo: t.me/geekjournalua/

This is our historic chance to build a country. If after the war the processes that lasted 30 years continue to exist, the Lord will not forgive us for this. There must be a completely new state – sincere, frank."

Quote"The Lord is giving us a chance now, and we need not to lose it. Because he has repeatedly given it to us: in 1991, in 2004, and in 2014. But somehow we treated these chances very irresponsibly."

"We are now paying a very high price for this chance. We pay with the lives of our citizens, our civilians, and our children."

Quote"And when you start thinking about them, do you realize why the Russians treat us like that? What have we done wrong to them, why do they treat us like that? Just because they think we should be under their boots? It doesn't suit us."

"Victory for me is an opportunity to eventually build a country. And it can only be built on the truth."

On World War III

Quote"I am more than sure that in 10-15-20 years there will be a big war in the world. It will definitely be.

Biography (briefly)

Photo: rnbo.gov.ua

Photo: rnbo.gov.ua

  • Oleksiy Danilov, 59, was born in Krasnyi Luch, Luhansk region.

Education

Luhansk Taras Shevchenko National Pedagogical University, Department of History;

Volodymyr Dahl East Ukrainian National University, Master of Science in Management;

Lugansk Institute of Internal Affairs of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, lawyer.

Career

  • 1994-1997 — mayor of Lugansk;
  • 2005-2006 — Chairman of the Lugansk Regional State Administration, Deputy Director of the European Institute for Integration and Development;
  • 2006-2007 — MP in the Verkhovna Rada of the 5th convocation (Batkivshchyna);
  • 2012-2019 — Chairman of the Ukrainian Entrepreneurship Support Fund;
  • July 23, 2019 — October 3, 2019 — Deputy Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council;
  • Since October 3, 2019 — Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council.

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