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Ukraine now ready to fight Russia, “unlike 2014,” top brass says

Ukraine fight Russia
Ukrainian military during military drills, November 2018. Source: rfe/rl
Ukraine now ready to fight Russia, “unlike 2014,” top brass says
Edited by: Michael Garrood
In a recent column, Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov wrote that after eight years of learning in battle, Ukraine is now ready to fight Russia. At the same time, he notes that “the Kremlin is trying to destabilize Ukraine with hybrid means, including sowing panic. We must not give it this opportunity.” Meanwhile, his deputy Hanna Maliar stated that any panic is premature, as “the group of troops concentrated around the border of Ukraine is not yet enough for a full-fledged offensive.”

They also state that the Russian Federation is using the concentration of troops near Ukrainian borders primarily to politically blackmail the West and put pressure on Ukraine. The other goal is to provoke an internal split in Ukrainian society, sow fear and panic, and destabilize the internal situation. That is why “you need to trust the armed forces and take the situation calmly,” the military leadership has told Ukrainians, asking the media not to manipulate the situation by scandalous headings and information from unnamed sources.

They highlight that Russia’s aggression against Ukraine has been going on for almost eight years, since 2014 when “Russia attacked us, violating all possible agreements, treacherously when we were not ready.” That is why the possibility of further escalation has remained.

Hanna Maliar, Ukraine’s deputy Minister of Defense. Source: Ukrainian military pages

However, unlike in 2014, the Armed Forces today are ready to fight, and Ukraine has the weapons and equipment required.

Today, the armed forces are run by combat commanders who have been hardened in the real battles in Donbas. It won’t be as it was in 2014. Any attempt by Russia to move any deeper into our territory will be thwarted. Their losses will be much more significant than in 2014-2015. Do not forget that we already have hundreds of thousands of veterans with combat experience and millions of motivated patriots. The adamant core of the nation is powerfully formed and hardened, no one will give up in Ukraine. The enemy knows this well,” Maliar states.

Russians sowing panic among own audiences to justify possible aggression against Ukraine - Reznikov
Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov. Source: Ukrinform

Reznikov elaborates further that Ukraine is currently receiving unprecedented help from partners, and there will be even more.

Not all of our actions can be explained publicly. We agreed to work with partners without making unnecessary announcements but showing the results. We are moving ahead gradually and consistently.

He also emphasizes that in addition to the 250,000-strong Ukrainian regular army with 400,000 reserve soldiers, most of whom already have combat experience, Ukraine is currently organizing, at an accelerated pace, territorial defense throughout the country.

This is being conducted according to the law on national resistance that was adopted in July 2021 and entered into force on 1 January 2022, making possible the new comprehensive system of defense and enlarging Ukraine’s military. This should make any of Russia’s attempts to seize part of Ukraine unsuccessful and unreasonable to start.

Ukraine’s Territorial Defense volunteers prepare to support army in case of Russian invasion

We must make sure that the Russian military machine is opposed not only by the army and other structures of the security and defense sector of Ukraine, but the whole Ukrainian nation is ready to resist, prepared, armed, united…” Reznikov comments.

Ukraine’s military also states that they are soberly considering all risks. Yet demonstratively preparing for escalation, Moscow is trying first of all to sway the unity of the West, as well as undermine perspectives for Ukraine, sow disagreements between Ukraine and the West as well as within the EU and Ukraine. That is why artificially inflaming panic is only helping Moscow.

Maliar addressed the media, asking them to avoid manipulative titles or unproven rumors. She highlights that there are many reports that begin with the phrase “our sources in the Ministry of Defense say.” Yet none of these reports were true, Maliar stated. Instead, there are daily updates on the situation published by Ukraine’s military headquarters as well as the Main Intelligence Directorate.

Данілов закликає ЗМІ протидіяти «чорній» пропаганді Росії
Ukraine’s Secretary of the National Security and Defense council Oleksiy Danilov

Ukraine’s Secretary of the National Security and Defense council Oleksiy Danilov emphasizes that certain actions of western partners, in particular the decision of the US, Australia, and Germany to evacuate families of diplomats from Ukraine, harms the situation, shaking up the internal situation in Ukraine, which is “the number one task for Putin.”

The next phase of the Hybrid War, or why Russia is unlikely to invade Ukraine

Danilov says there is not that major an increase in Russian military forces as portrayed in the media, although they are indeed moving some troops within Russian borders, which certainly is annoying Ukraine. Yet, it is not something totally new, all last years since the occupation of Crimea and Donbas in 2014, there were about 100,000 Russian troops stationed around Ukraine.

Our task is to do our job in a calm, balanced atmosphere. That’s what we do. Are we ready for their active actions? Yes, ready. Will they conduct them? We do not know, but we are preparing for this and there is no need to emphasize this. We understand it, we realize it. We are in this process after the first invasion in 2014,” Danilov says.

Danilov also says the problem we see now is an internal division within the West, which Putin will try to promote and use further in the current circumstances:

Is democracy in the world under threat today? For sure. Because today, unfortunately, money wins in many cases. And when one says “West”, such a common entity as “West” no longer exists. There are countries that adhere to democracy, and there are countries for which money is the main thing today. And these countries are part of the EU, these countries are members of NATO. This is the problem… We have great respect for all countries, we are grateful to them for their help, but if something is missing, it is not necessary to say that it is. And if it is, we must say that it is and say the last name, first name and middle name, not postpone it to the future.

Edited by: Michael Garrood
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