The TVI commentator has no doubt that some of the Azovstal prisoners will be tortured and used in show trials. Furthermore, he recommends caution in the promises made on Ukraine’s accession to the European Union. And he harshly criticizes the idea of closing Avenida da Liberdade in Lisbon: “It’s playing politics to get likes”
The fall of Azovstal, in Mariupol, is, according to Paulo Portas, “the most politically important moment for the Russians” in this war, after the capture of Kherson. “This week may have been the one in which the Russians managed to reverse the series of setbacks they had suffered,” Portas says in “Global”, the weekly commentary space of TVI’s Jornal das 8. “The fall of Azovstal, with 2,439 prisoners of war, is a kind of happy conclusion – an absolutely destructive achievement – on the part of the Russians. The Russians are advancing in Donbass, slowly but surely.”
To illustrate this moment, Paulo Portas chose a photograph that Dmytro Kozatskyi, soldier and photographer of the Azov Battalion, posted on social networks shortly before the surrender.
“It’s an image of extreme destruction. This photograph will definitely win an award,” he predicts. The image shows “the illusion of the light of freedom, which is an illusion that lasts for a few seconds, because when the military comes out, they are definitely in the hands of the Russians.”
According to Paulo Portas, “there are two parallel lines that are beginning to stand out” in this war: on the one hand, “Zelensky and the USA want to defeat Russia as much as they can”, on the other hand, ” some to European countries that of the idea of a ceasefire to start a peace negotiation – an idea that Ukraine now refuses, especially if there is no exchange of prisoners”.
What will happen to the prisoners? Paulo Portas does not believe in an exchange of all prisoners. “Make no mistake about it, most of them are on Russian territory, it is very likely that they will not be known for a long time or never again. Some of them will be tortured, against all the internationals. Others will be used for the show. trial.”
“From the point of view of the morale of the Ukrainian troops, the fall of Azovstal was very positive for Russia” and it was “a very difficult moment for Zelensky”, who was under pressure to intervene in Mariupol. “The strategy of resistance to the limit was not viable, sometimes you have to withdraw to protect yourself and to move forward,” said Paulo Portas.
Ukraine in the European Union: a very difficult process
This Saturday, Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa was in kyiv with Zelensky: “It’s important that there is a photo that shows that Portugal is on the right side of school, but Ukraine’s membership in the European Union is more difficult than it seems”, warns the TVI commentator. “First, because Ukraine is at war, as long as there is war and post-war negotiations, the EU cannot be placed on the chessboard if it is not part of the war “, he says. “Secondly, there is no consensus” between European countries.
“It is clear that a solution must be found, but it is not possible to promise that Ukraine will quickly enter the EU,” says Portas. There are countries that have been waiting for years (like Serbia, Montenegro, or Turkey, which has been waiting since the 60s of the last century”, he recalls. And then, because, underlines Paulo Portas, ” there is progress in the rule of law that Ukraine had not been able to make in peacetime, and now it will be much more difficult”.
Finally, the commentator referred to the $50 billion aid package Joe Biden signed this week, which comes on top of the previous $14 billion military and humanitarian aid package for Ukraine. It’s ten times more than EU aid and the largest US aid to a country in recent years, which Portas says leads us to believe Biden doesn’t believe the war will end. soon: “The United States is preparing a protracted war scenario.”
2023 with difficult accounts for the Portuguese Minister of Finance
In 2022, the outlook is not bad, but 2023 will be “a difficult year” for Finance Minister Fernando Medin, predicts Paulo Portas. “Let’s go back to modest GDP, which is this ream-oar of growing a little bit but not what we needed to grow,” he says. Growth will be between 2% and 2.5%, including the PRR.
“And then there is a detail: most of the increases that the state will have to pay will be based on this year’s inflation,” he said. “This means that benefits such as unemployment benefits, minimum income, child benefits, pensions, are increased for the year according to inflation for this year and for the year the Minister of Finance will have to make the budget thinking about household increases 6 or 6.5%.”
This without forgetting also the increase in the number of civil servants.
Avenida da Liberdade closed on Sunday?
Regarding the proposal, presented by Livre, to close traffic on Avenida da Liberdade, in Lisbon, on Sundays and public holidays, Paulo Portas has no doubts: “This is not how things are done “, he says, referring to the fact that the promoters have not spoken with the merchants and entrepreneurs of this avenue. On Avenida da Liberdade, there are 14 hotels, 80 shops and six concert halls, recalls Portas, which must be open on Sundays.
According to him, this idea reveals “a lack of common sense and knowledge of reality”. “They haven’t spoken to any of the interested parties, it’s politics to get likes,” he berates.
Portas warns that “there are ideas that sound good but backfire” and this could be one of them. And he leaves the warning: the mayor Carlos Moedas “must make agreements because he does not have a majority, but the opposition must also realize that they cannot govern, if they overthrow Moedas it could be better for him.”