Dmitry Medvedev, deputy head of the Russian Security Council, asserted on Friday that Moscow must push "the borders of threats" as far as possible, "even if it will be the borders of Poland."
Marking the first year since the beginning of Moscow's "special military operation" in Ukraine, which sits between Russia and NATO and EU member Poland, the former Russian president said on Telegram that while his country would "win in Ukraine," this victory would be followed by more hardship.
"Victory will be achieved. We all want it to be achieved as soon as possible. And that day will come. We will return our territories and reliably protect our people who suffered during the years of genocide and shelling," Medvedev said.
In March 2014, Russia illegally annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula, in a move denounced by the UN General Assembly, EU, and the US.
That year also saw the start of a conflict in eastern Ukraine, including Donbas, between Kyiv and Russian-backed separatists, which many see as a precursor to the year-old Ukraine war. Russia accuses Ukraine of "genocide" and using heavy weapons against civilians during the years of fighting since then.
In the aftermath of the war, Medvedev said he expects "touch and nervous" negotiations, in which he said Russia would not be dealing formally with the real decision-makers on the "opponent's side," arguing that the US controls Ukraine with arms deliveries and funding.
"The motives of our country's main enemies are obvious: To weaken Russia as much as possible, to bleed us for a long time. Therefore, they are not interested in ending the conflict. But sooner or later, according to historical laws, they will do it. And then, there will be some kind of agreement," he said.
Medvedev added that this agreement would probably not include specific terms on borders, heralding "an equally difficult time ... exhausting months and years of confrontation," since he said Ukraine's authorities would not be able to recognize the defeat "without risking being executed on the same day."
He said Ukraine would likely also retain its "anti-Russian" position, possibly turning into an attempt to "provoke a world conflict."
"This cannot happen. That is why it is so important to achieve all the goals of a special military operation. To push the borders of threats to our country as far as possible, even if it will be the borders of Poland.
"Destroy neo-Nazism to the ground ... so that the world finds the long-awaited peace."