Aleksey Arestovich
FILE PHOTO: Aleksey Arestovich
Aleksey Arestovich says any invasion of Crimea would break Ukraine and its economy, adding that the country should negotiate peace in return for NATO membership.

Invading Crimea would be too costly for Kiev, a former advisor to Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky said this week.

The former advisor, Aleksey Arestovich, told Yulia Latynina, a Russian journalist, that such a campaign would lead to hundreds of thousands of casualties, adding that there are "few prospects" of taking over the Russian Peninsula via military means.

"What will be the cost? Extermination of 200,000 of the adult male population?" he rhetorically asked. Arestovich also warned that the event would lead to the total destruction of the Ukrainian economy.

He added that Kiev is "totally dependent" on Western governments for military supplies and aid, adding that a break in the supply chain would not only severely hinder their counteroffensive, but would also make it difficult for Ukrainian forces to defend their current positions.

"Let's be honest: Our foreign policy goals in this war contrast sharply with the foreign policy goals of our sponsors and backers," he said, adding that the West is willing to sacrifice Ukrainian lives in order to achieve its objectives.

"We need relations... based on real profits. That's the only thing they [the West] understand." He explained that "immoral policies... and inability to take serious decisions" are the "major weakness of the West."

"Stop the war and join NATO? Many people would say it is a historical chance," Arestovich underlined, stressing that this is the only consolation Ukraine can obtain from its venture into the conflict with Russia.

The former advisor described such a process as a "fairly good deal" for Ukraine. He said in order to convince Moscow to agree to a peace deal, the West has to partially lift the sanctions it imposed on Russian industries and entities.

The Russian government has consistently shown its readiness for peace talks with Kiev, blaming it for the closing diplomatic pathways, as the Ukrainian President signed a decree last year that prohibits talks with Russia as long as President Putin remains in power.