Reznikov lays out most likely Russian invasion scenario

8 February 2022, 08:32 PM

Russian President Vladimir Putin may attempt to destabilize Ukraine from within and try to stage a coup as a pretext to invade, said Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov on Ukrainian television’s ICTV channel on Feb. 7.

According to Reznikov, “…the Kremlin dreams of being greeted with flowers by locals in Kyiv, Odesa, Dnipro or Lviv,” noting that such a scenario was “unlikely to occur.”

Reznikov said that it was no longer possible to take over administrative buildings by taking advantage of people’s nostalgia for the Soviet Union and deploying “Little Green Men,” as the Russian military did in 2014 during the invasion of Crimea and when it created a fake insurgency in the Donbas.

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The “Little Green Men” were Russian soldiers in unmarked uniforms who first appeared when Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, and took over military bases and Simferopil Airport. In Russia they are also referred to as the “polite people.”

“Attempts to stir public unrest, leveraging the so called 'anti-vaxxers’ or people unhappy with Ukraine’s economic policy, as well as staging a coup in Ukraine, are very likely,” Reznikov said.

“(But) we need to prepare for this scenario and not let it happen.”

Reznikov added that Ukraine’s National Guard, its law enforcement bodies, and its emergency services were now training to be ready if Russia attempted to destabilize the country.

Russia has been massing troops to the Ukrainian borders since the end of October 2021. Russia has since deployed more than 130,000 troops and offensive weapons near the Ukrainian border and in the temporarily occupied territories, according to the latest intelligence estimate from the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine.

International media have speculated that Russia may invade Ukraine in early 2022, in an operation that could involve up to 200,000 Russian soldiers.

The Kremlin says the troop movements are an internal affair of the Russian Federation.

At the same time, Moscow has repeatedly accused Ukraine of planning “provocations,” and alleged that Kyiv plans to regain control of the occupied territories by military means. The Kremlin has failed to back up any of its allegations with evidence, however.

The head of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, Oleksiy Danilov, previously stated that the Ukrainian government deemed the threat of a direct Russian invasion unlikely.

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