Russian army can scale up quickly to nearly a million soldiers, says Ukraine’s commander-in-chief
Ukraine’s military command and government should take into account Russia’s ability to increase the force currently stationed on the Ukrainian border to a million men, Ukrainian Army Commander Lieutenant General Valeriy Zaluzhny said in an interview with the Ukrinform national news agency on Jan. 17.
“As a military man, I don’t like this figure of 100,000,” he said.
“Believe me, this figure may reach 210,000 the day after tomorrow, and 780,000 in a week – the Russian Federation has every ability to do this.”
“Let’s talk about this directly and openly: We’re now dealing with the Russian army, which today has almost a million servicemen,” Zaluzhny said.
He added that he had reported this threat to the military leadership of NATO. The alliance itself is aware of this threat, and agreed with his assessment, he said.
At the same time, Ukraine should not rely on NATO military intervention or military aid, Zaluzhny said, though he added that the alliance had assured Ukraine of political support amid the military threat from Russia.
Since late October, Russia has been massing troops at the Russian-Ukrainian border.
As of early December, about 100,000 Russian soldiers were deployed near the Russian-Ukrainian border and in the temporarily occupied territories in the Donbas, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said in Ukraine’s parliament on Dec. 3.
International media have speculated that Russia may invade Ukraine in early 2022, in an operation that could involve up to 175,000 Russian soldiers.
Both United States and European officials have expressed concern over the situation. U.S. President Joe Biden in December declared that the White House is working out “the most comprehensive and meaningful set of initiatives to make it very, very difficult for (Russian President Vladimir) Putin to go ahead and do what people are worried he may do.”
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