Ukraine’s commander-in-chief says Russian invasion is still unlikely

4 February 2022, 11:21 AM

A full-scale invasion of Ukraine by the Russian army is still unlikely, Ukrainian Army Commander Lieutenant General Valeriy Zaluzhnyi said during the Pravo Na Vladu (“Right to Power”) panel show on the Ukrainian 1+1 TV channel on Feb. 3.

“It’s more like psychological pressure,” he noted, urging Ukrainians to stay calm and trust official reports and the military.

Zaluzhnyi also stressed that the large number of Russian military and hardware concentrated near Ukrainian border is a “cause for concern.”

“This also applies to the territories of the temporarily occupied Crimea,” he said.

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“If we carefully analyze the state of these groups now, we are concerned about it. Because it will disturb any nation, if there are (armed) groups near its borders.”

Russia has been massing troops at the Russian-Ukrainian border since late October.

More than 130,000 Russian troops and offensive weapons have been deployed near Ukraine’s borders and in the temporarily occupied territories, according to the latest intelligence estimate from the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine.

Both U.S. and European officials have expressed concern over the situation. U.S. President Joe Biden in December declared that the White House was 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.”

The 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.

On Jan. 14, the U.K.-based Guardian newspaper and the U.S.-based CNN news channel reported that Russia had positioned covert operatives in Ukraine to carry out a “false flag” operation to use as a pretext for a Russian attack.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Jan. 28 that Russia is not interested in a war, but will not allow its “security interests” to be neglected. The Kremlin demands that the United States and NATO guarantee that Ukraine will never join the alliance.

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