Russia’s end goal is Ukraine’s capitulation, loss of independence — MoD chief Reznikov

22 February 2022, 11:22 AM

Russia wants to weaken Ukraine from the inside in order to strong-arm it into surrender, Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said at a press briefing in Kyiv on Feb. 21, with fears of a further Russian invasion rising in Ukraine.

Reznikov was speaking following a spate of false flag accusations of Ukrainian attacks on Russian soil and of a new Ukrainian offensive against non-government controlled territories in the Donbas over the previous few days.

“The purpose of these actions is to shake Ukraine from the inside, in order to force us to surrender, so that we change our political course and abandon the EU and NATO (membership plans), and eventually lose our independence,” he said at a briefing.

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According to him, "now (the Kremlin) is trying to implement this scenario."

Since the end of Oct. 2021, Russia has been massing troops to the Ukrainian borders. The U.S. ambassador to the OSCE, Michael Carpenter, said on Feb. 21 that Russia has arrayed between 169,000 and 190,000 troops on the Russian-Ukrainian and Belarusian-Ukrainian border, and in the temporarily occupied territories of Crimea and the Donbas.

Kyiv’s partners are concerned that Russia may plan a large-scale invasion of Ukraine, and have warned that tough sanctions will be imposed against Moscow should one occur.

Russia has officially denied it plans to invade Ukraine, though it continues to provide arms and orders to Russian proxy forces in the east of the country.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky stressed that the country is ready to defend itself against a Russian invasion, regardless of the date.

During a speech on Feb. 18, U.S. President Joe Biden said the United States had reason to believe that Russia was planning and intending to attack in the coming days or week and would “target the capital of Ukraine, Kyiv.”

According to him, although Russian President Vladimir Putin had decided on a new invasion of Ukraine, in his opinion, there was still a chance for diplomatic negotiations before military action began.

Defense Minister Reznikov said that as of Feb. 20, no Russian strike groups formed at any site where its troops were deployed next to Ukraine, and it was too early to talk about a possible invasion “tomorrow or the day after tomorrow.” At the same time, he stressed that this does not mean that there is no threat.

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