According to the Secretary of the National Security Council of Ukraine, Russian troops are stationed not only in Crimea but also near the northern and eastern borders of Ukraine. Their current total number of troops is around 100,000.
The main Russian objective regarding Ukraine today is to derail the early presidential elections, and there is a fairly high risk of a Russian invasion of mainland Ukraine. Andriy Parubiy, Secretary of the National Security Council of Ukraine (RNBOU), announced this today.
“They [Russian authorities] carry on with their tactics aiming to destabilize the situation in Ukraine. Their main objective today is destabilization and prevention of the presidential elections scheduled to take place on May 25. All their plans revolve around this,” said Parubiy during a web conference with the Head of the Atlantic Council of the United States, Damon Wilson.
He emphasized that, according to their information, “Crimea was only to be the first stage of intervention in the territory of Ukraine.”
“The second stage was intended to take place in eight southeastern provinces of Ukraine, where oblast state administrations and other administrative buildings were to be seized and ‘people’s governors’ were to be proclaimed who would request help from Russia, just as it happened in Crimea. This plan had, and still has, the name ‘Russian Spring’,” Parubiy claims.
According to Parubiy, Russian troops are stationed not only in Crimea but also near the northern and eastern borders of Ukraine. The current total number of troops is around 100,000.
“Almost 100,000 troops are located on Ukraine’s borders near Chernihiv, Kharkiv, and Donetsk. These troops have been in a state of combat readiness for several weeks already.”
Parubiy also noted that the Russian strategy relied on a potential cordial reception of Russian troops in eastern and southern Ukraine; however, “the well-prepared protest actions did not garner mass support in the eastern and southern regions.”
Moreover, in his opinion there remains a very high risk of military intervention in mainland Ukraine.
“According to our information, they will employ a plan with the long-term political strategy of derailing the Ukrainian elections. But we realize that an assault on mainland Ukraine can happen anytime. And we are preparing ourselves,” the RNBOU’s Secretary assured.
He emphasized that “Our principal strategy today is to ensure order in the territory of Ukraine, prevent provocations, and prepare to hold the presidential elections on May 25.”
Translated by Oleg Naumenko, edited by Robin Rohrback