BANGKOK — Ukraine’s top diplomat to Thailand on Friday insisted that Russia’s war on his homeland was no “special military operation” as claimed by his Russian counterpart and pleaded for more help from Thailand.
At today’s news conference at the Conrad Hotel in Bangkok, Chargé d’affaires Oleksandr Lysak appreciated the Thai government for voting to condemn Russia’s invasion at the U.N. General Assembly earlier this month. He also noted that Thais have provided substantial support to Ukraine, both in terms of financial aid and assistance to the stranded Ukrainians in the kingdom.
“I’d like to express deepest gratitude to the Royal Thai Government and the Thai people,” Lysak said after playing a graphic video of war-torn Ukraine which was also shown during Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s address to the U.S. Congress on Wednesday.
He said a total of seven million baht of public and private donations have been given to Ukraine via the embassy so far. At least 100 free accommodations are also being offered to more than 3,000 Ukrainians who stranded in Thailand due to travel limitations.
While some Thais have shown their interests in joining the fight in Ukraine, Lysak said no Thai nationals are serving as military volunteers in Ukraine at the moment.
The event, which was opened to both Thai and foreign journalists, was apparently held in response to a news conference hosted by the Russian ambassador to Thailand Evgeny Tomikhin on Tuesday, who said to a group of selected Thai journalists that its invasion of Ukraine is a special military operation aiming for demilitarization and denazification.
“It’s hard and painful to describe the reality with words,” Lysak said. “This is a full-scale war launched by Russia against Ukraine … not special [military] operations as Russia claims. The war launched by the President of Russia must be stopped. It’s not in the interest of the people of Russia and Belarus.”
Just before the event started, embassy’s staff could be seen removing Thai flag displays from the conference table. Chargé d’affaires Lysak declined to answer why they were removed at last minute.
“We understand the Thai government supports Ukraine on the way to achieve peace … This is the most essential thing, and we hope this support will continue and our friendly relations will last,” he said.
However, a Thai flag could be seen standing alongside Russian flag during the news conference at the Russian Embassy earlier this week.
Asked whether he would talk with his Russian counterpart in Bangkok, Lysak declined.
“The answer is obvious. Of course not,” he said. “They tell Ukraine to be friendly. But if you are killing us, how can you expect us to be friendly? Stop killing us and we will be friendly.”