Ukraine can mobilize up to 2.5 million people if Russia invades, says NSDC head Danilov
Ukraine could mobilize up to 2.5 million people as a defensive force to resist a potential Russian invasion, the Secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council Oleksiy Danilov told the Associated Press in Kyiv on Jan. 31.
Danilov stated that Russia had amassed around 120,000 troops on Ukraine’s border and could stage a provocation “at any moment”. However, the secretary believes that a full-fledged Russian invasion would require much more preparation, which would be visible to the entire world. At the moment, Danilov says that he has not seen evidence of that scale of preparation.
“(If the Russians invade) they will face resistance from our society, our citizens, our army,” said Danilov.
“We can put up to 2.5 million people on full alert.”
Danilov noted that nearly 450,000 Ukrainians have gained experience in fighting against Russian proxy forces as part of volunteer or government troops on the front lines of the conflict in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region, and another 1 million people have obtained hunting licenses, which allows for limited gun ownership.
The NSDC secretary’s position largely coincides with the current strategy of the Zelensky administration as the government attempts to stabilize a quickly falling Ukrainian economy.
Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov has said that there was currently no need for a general mobilization of the armed forces, which would trigger large-scale conscription across the nation. At the same time, Ukraine would engage in ramping up recruitment and training for its newly-established Territorial Defense Force, which is intended to function as a home guard.
Reznikov also said Ukrainians did not need to pack “an emergency suitcase” despite reports of constantly escalating Russian mobilization on the Ukrainian border, insisting that the Ukrainian military was up to the task of confronting an invading force.
Earlier, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky called upon Ukrainians not to panic over the risk of Russia’s invasion, claiming that the situation had not changed in comparison to the previous years - though the current Russian military build-up is the largest and closest Ukraine has seen in the past eight years of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict.
Russia’s potential invasion of Ukraine
Since the end of Oct. 2021, Russia has been massing troops to the Ukrainian borders. 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.
Russian troops have also been deployed to Belarus, as part of previously unscheduled ‘military exercises.’ However, Russian equipment has been spotted along the Ukrainian-Belarusian border, far from the announced zone of the ‘exercise’ area.
The situation on Ukraine's eastern border is a matter of deep concern for both US and European Union officials. According to U.S. president Joe Biden, the White House is looking at a range of options to dissuade Russia from a potential attack on Ukraine.
Biden has defined these measures as “the most comprehensive and meaningful set of initiatives to make it very, very difficult for Mr. Putin to go ahead and do what people believe he may do.”
Proposed measures include cutting Russia off from the SWIFT international banking system, personal sanctions against Russian President Vladimir Putin and his inner circle, and a ban on U.S. dollar transactions with Russia.
In early December, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said Russian aggression towards Ukraine could intensify in late January 2022.
On Jan. 14, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki stated that the United States has evidence of Russia planning to conduct various false flag operations in the Donbas.
Corroborated by the Pentagon, Psaki said that Moscow has sent operatives, trained in explosives and urban combat, into eastern Ukraine, to be used to stage false flag operations that could give Putin a pretext to renew his invasion of the country
While Russia has denied plans to invade, it has also refused to provide assurances that it would not do so, instead issuing so-called “security guarantees” to the United States and NATO.
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