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Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov says the West is too slow to respond to the threat of Russian aggression

After US intelligence revealed that Russia may be preparing for a full-scale attack Invasion of Ukraine, Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov told The Daily Beast in an exclusive interview that the seven-year military conflict is even more dangerous today than it was in April this year, when Moscow deployed up to 150,000 troops along the Ukrainian border. .

“The West did not respond in time,” the minister said on Monday, adding that it was now clear that the Kremlin had been plotting to attack Ukraine for months. “In fact, Russia has annexed Belarus, which has more than 1,000 kilometers along the border that we have to defend.”

Until now, Belarusian ruler Alexander Lukashenko tried to maintain a neutral stance on the Russo-Ukrainian conflict. Just a few months ago, Lukashenko announced he would only recognize Crimea as Russian territory “when the last Russian oligarch delivers goods” to the peninsula, alluding to the reluctance of Russian elites to invest in Crimea because of fear of punishment. But now, with Lukashenko smoke in the face of Western sanctions and relying on the Kremlin’s backing, “Minsk is acting as a proxy for Moscow and is used for actions that Russia cannot do with its own hands,” Reznikov told The Daily Beast.

On Saturday, Ukrainians woke up to a flurry of chilling headlines after Articles washington reports that Russia may be preparing to attack Ukraine in the next few months, based on information gleaned from a US intelligence analysis. The plan is said to involve the deployment of more than 175,000 Russian troops. Meanwhile, Russian officials are said to be pressuring the US to ensure that Ukraine will be blocked from participating NATO.

In other words, the message to the US and its allies is clear: Mind your own business and stay out of it.

According to Reznikov, it got worse. Not only are there more Russian troops on the border than there were in April, but the fact that Ukraine, Poland and three other Baltic states are now “besieged” by Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline poses a series of challenges. new challenge to Ukraine’s resistance efforts.

“We were dealing with several wars at once.”

“The direct gas pipeline to Germany greatly increases the military threat to the four NATO countries and also to Ukraine. Russia now has the ability to destabilize [their gas supplies] and in so doing, prevent a strong response from Europe,” said the minister. He added: “We saw what might look like this: The Kremlin carried out a mixed attack on Poland and Lithuania with the help of migrants,” he added, suggesting referring to the recent border crisis on the Polish-Belarusian border.

The minister warned that in the event of a Russian invasion, millions of Ukrainian refugees would flood into the European Union. “The sudden arrival of 3-5 million refugees from Ukraine will be just one of many serious problems facing European society,” he said.

“We are dealing with many wars at the same time: the political conflict between President Zelensky and the oligarch [Rinat] Akhmetov, the economic crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic, “editor-in-chief of Ukrainskaya Pravda, Sevgil Musaieva told The Daily Beast on Monday. “A war would be a disaster, but we hope that Moscow is just crying again to put pressure on the West.”

Reznikov expressed concern that the influx of migrants from Belarus could also be diverted from the Polish border to the border with Ukraine, where Ukrainian military forces have been preparing to defend a 1,500-mile stretch of land for weeks .

Putin and Biden are expected to speak at a summit on Tuesday, but it is clear that Moscow is not expecting any miracle peace agreement between the two presidents. “It is very difficult to expect any breakout from any conversation. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday that we have such huge Augean stables that it would be difficult to clear them out like this in a few hours of conversation.

“We don’t really trust any paper transactions.”

Ukrainian analysts far and wide are struggling to assess the legitimacy of Moscow’s plans for aggression. “Things look much worse than they did in April. Since the summer, we have been reading about Russia recruiting more soldiers online, building field hospitals, kitchens for wartime and of course about the Russian-Ukrainian military,” said Ivan Yakovyna, an analyst accumulated in Kyiv at Novoye Vremya , told The Daily Beast on Monday.

A popular TV presenter Yevgeny Kisilev believes that the present threat of war is real. “There has been a shift in Russian power over the hawks during the war. They won the parliamentary election, so they want to fight now,” Kisilev, who reports for the Ukraine-24 TV network, told The Daily Beast.

At this point, Reznikov does not believe that any kind of diplomatic agreement will hold Moscow.

“Ukraine signed the Budapest Memorandum of Understanding once and gave away the world’s third-largest nuclear arsenal in exchange for what we consider ‘assurances’. After some time, one of the guarantor countries, the Russian Federation, violated all the agreements and attacked us, taking part of our territory. Tens of thousands of our people have died. We don’t really trust any paper transactions,” he told The Daily Beast.

The minister continued: “The guarantee will be a practical step by the West to strengthen the defense capabilities of Ukraine and our military. So the costs of a possible escalation would be unacceptable to the Kremlin’s military plans, and also a clear precautionary signal to Russia that escalation war would destroy Russia economically. Only such an approach would be a guarantee. “

There was a stark contrast between the views of Washington and Moscow last week when US Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov that Washington would “impose severe costs and consequences” in response to any action. any Russian escalation. Foreign Minister Lavrov responded by saying that NATO was “playing with fire”.

“The situation is very dangerous,” pro-Kremlin analyst Yuriy Krupnov told The Daily Beast. “Because of the absolute distrust between Russia and the West, the future is completely uncertain.”

Source link Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov says the West is too slow to respond to the threat of Russian aggression

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