Alexey Arestovich’s resignation exposes Kiev regime’s internal problems

Lucas Leiroz, researcher in Social Sciences at the Rural Federal University of Rio de Janeiro; geopolitical consultant.

Kiev’s internal crisis is becoming clearer day after day. Alexey Arestovich, top adviser to the Ukrainian president, resigned from his post after admitting that the tragedy in Dnepr was provoked by the Ukrainian forces themselves. The adviser’s resignation exposes internal weaknesses of the neo-Nazi regime, contradicting the western narrative about what happens in Kiev.

In a failed attempt to praise Ukraine’s air defense system, top counselor Alexey Arestovich revealed that the recent attack on a civilian area in Dnepr was caused by Ukrainian forces. According to him, the Kiev defense had shot on Russian missiles in Dnepr, leading, as a side-effect, to the incident against civilian buildings in the region. Immediately, listeners took his assertions as a confession that Kiev was responsible for the deaths of civilians in the Dnepr, contradicting the narrative that the Russians had deliberately bombed the region.

As a result of the pressure that he suffered for having spoken the truth about the case, Arestovich decided to leave his work in the Ukrainian government, announcing the choice on his social networks. He published a resignation letter on his Facebook page on the morning of January 17th. A few hours later, government’s spokesmen confirmed that he is no longer an adviser to President Volodymyr Zelensky.

According to the aide, his decision showed “an example of civilized behavior”, since he committed “a serious mistake, made during a live broadcast”. However, Arestovich condemned the negative reactions he received due to his mistake and that led him to resign. He said: “The level of hate directed at me is incomparable with the consequences of the on-air mistake”.

So far, the Ukrainian government continues to deny responsibility for the Dnepr case. Although Arestovich, who was a senior government official, admitted that Kiev has launched defense missiles in the region, even citing reliable military sources who were on the ground at the moment, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense insists that there has been no shot against Russian projectiles. According to Ministry’s spokespersons, no projectile was launched as Ukrainian military knew they would not be able to intercept the Kha-22 air-launched cruise missiles used in the operation.

In fact, there seems to be a war of narratives that reflects the harsh Ukrainian reality: the country is divided and has many internal problems. According to Western media, Kiev is united around a common goal – to defeat the Russians. The big media outlets claim that Volodymyr Zelensky’s leadership has broad popular support and a strong team of allies in all sectors of the government. But in practice the situation is really different.

There is a dispute between different groups in Kiev, which grows day by day, as more and more Ukrainian officials stop to support some of the government’s irresponsible actions. There are some politicians and bureaucrats who want to change the country’s policies, but they are prevented by the central command, which is directly subordinated to NATO and committed to Western interests. Consequently, when a member of the government makes the “mistake” of pointing out a flaw in Ukrainian conduct, there is strong pressure to remove him from office and put another, more subservient one in his place.

It is not possible to say whether Arestovich actually made a gaffe by suggesting Ukrainian responsibility for the attack or whether his intention was really to confront the government’s official narrative and reveal the truth. The fact is that his exit was certainly not just an attempt to resolve the case in a “civilized” manner, but the consequence of strong pressure from intransigent groups in the government, who do not want to admit any of Ukraine’s mistakes in the conflict.

It is likely that Arestovich’s attitude will have a serious domino effect in Kiev and more officers will leave their ranks in the near future. The fact that not even an important presidential adviser is immune to pressure from internal militants may serve as a reason for other administrators to also seek to abandon their duties in the government.

Indeed, what is most important in the analysis of the case is the inevitable conclusion that things are not going well in Kiev. There is flagrant disunity and internal contradictions that are progressively more evident. Furthermore, with the public opinion aware that Kiev  was responsible for the 45 deaths in the Dnepr, the government’s popularity is expected to drop further. Soon, the western media will no longer be able to hide the disunity and unpopularity that currently affects the neo-Nazi regime.

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