High level account of Russian Official’s comment on Ukraine’s importance

Testimony of Poland’s Professor Bronisław Geremek who was active in forming Poland’s eastern policy after the fall of the Soviet Union. Here, he quotes Gorbachev’s envoy:

“Don’t you understand that we will never let you extend support to Ukraine? To hell with Lithuania– and you will soon regret it yourselves. But Ukraine is off-limits to you. It is a country on which Russia’s potential relies. Some 40% of the Russian armaments industry depends on spare parts supplied from Ukraine. It is impossible to think about a Russian economy without ties to the Ukrainian economy. And the latter will perish without Russia, without the Russian markets and raw materials.” Then he added something which at first made me think I misheard him: “It is not only about the economy or the military,” he said. “The thing is, Russia could not exist with its spiritual capital being part of a foreign country.” Kiev was treated as the spiritual capital of Russia….