Kiev-Russia has gathered more than 94,000 troops near the Ukrainian border and may be preparing for a major military attack at the end of January, Ukraine’s defense minister told parliament on Friday. ..
Olexii Reznikov said Ukraine does nothing to provoke the situation, but is ready to fight back if Russia launches an attack. He said Ukraine is building two naval bases on the south coast.
“Our intelligence analyzes all scenarios, including the worst,” says Reznikov. “Note that there is the potential for a major expansion from Russia. It is most likely to be ready for escalation at the end of January.”
Ukraine and its NATO allies have warned of Russian troops’ movements near the Ukrainian border this year, raising concerns that a boiling conflict in eastern Ukraine could plunge into war.
Moscow has now accused Ukraine and the United States of volatile behavior, suggesting that Kiev may be preparing to launch its own attack in eastern Ukraine, but Ukrainian officials strongly deny this. doing.
According to Interfax, the Russian Senate chairman denied Moscow planning an offensive operation in eastern Ukraine, and Moscow did everything possible to prevent a major expansion of the region. He said he would.
Yuri Ushakov, the Kremlin’s foreign policy adviser, was also negative. “It’s nonsense. There’s no escalation. We have the right to move troops to our territory,” he told reporters.
Ukraine has pressured its European Union and NATO allies this week to prepare strict sanctions to avoid Russia’s attacks.
Mr Reznikov said Ukraine is promoting the construction of a naval base as part of a defense pact with the United Kingdom.
One base is in Ochakiv, west of the Crimean Peninsula, where Russia was annexed in 2014, and the other is in Beljansk, east of Crimea.
“Some of our priorities are missile programs and fleet development,” Reznikov told Congress. “We are at the practical stage of building two military bases in Berdyans’k and Ochakiv, and have other contracts within the framework of the agreement with the United Kingdom.”
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned Moscow on Thursday about the “serious costs” Russia would pay in the event of an escalation and urged Russian responders to call for a diplomatic withdrawal from the crisis.
Blinken said President Joe Biden and President Vladimir Putin are likely to speak shortly.
The Kremlin said Friday that work was underway to arrange a video call between them the day after their top diplomats gathered to discuss Ukraine.
Relations between Ukraine and Russia collapsed in 2014 after Moscow-backed troops occupied the territory of eastern Ukraine that Kiev wanted to regain. Kiev says that about 14,000 people have been killed in battle since then.
Since the beginning of the recent crisis, Moscow has issued a legally binding security demand from the West that NATO will not recognize Ukraine as a member or deploy a missile system targeting Russia. rice field.
Ukraine has made no statement about Russia’s ambitions to join the NATO alliance and has dismissed any security as illegal.
“Escalation is a likely scenario, but it’s not inevitable. Our job is to prevent it,” Reznikov said. “We must make the price of escalation unacceptable to the invaders.”