Ukraine’s top military commander attends meeting of NATO military chiefs
Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Lieutenant General Valerii Zaluzhnyi has participated in a meeting of NATO military chiefs of defense, Zaluzhnyi wrote on Facebook on Jan. 13.
Admiral Rob Bauer, Chair of NATO’s Military Committee, presided over the meeting, which was attended by member states’ top military commanders. General Zaluzhnyi briefed the attendees on the developing Russian military escalation around Ukraine’s borders, as well as on the ongoing conflict on the east of the country.
“I underscored that Russia refuses to accept the European aspirations of the Ukrainian people, and perseveres in its aggression against us, building up its military presence at our border,” said Zaluzhnyi.
“At the same time, I assured (NATO) that our armed forces, along with the nation as a whole, are ready for any scenario that could emerge,” added the lieutenant general.
According to him, Russia is using a multi-faceted strategy of hybrid warfare, utilizing the levers of natural gas price gouging, “the migration crisis,” and information warfare, among other tactics.
Zaluzhnyi also said that the threat of another Russian invasion of Ukraine and the ultimatums Moscow has sent the United States and NATO all require a systemic approach rooted in “the values of liberal democracy.”
“I’m convinced that the Armed Forces of Ukraine will prove to be a worthy and effective partner to NATO’s allied forces,” added Zaluzhnyi.
During a meeting with admiral Bauer, Zaluzhnyi discussed “Ukraine’s potential status of a privileged NATO ally,” and further military cooperation between Ukraine and the alliance.
On Dec. 17, Russia issued demands for what it called “security guarantees” from the United States and NATO, including that Ukraine be forbidden from ever becoming a member of the alliance – all against the backdrop of a continuous build-up of Russian troops close to the Ukrainian border.
Following the Jan. 12 meeting of the NATO-Russia Council, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy R. Sherman expressed her bewilderment as to “why (Russia) would feel threatened by Ukraine,” given that besides being one of the world’s major nuclear powers, Russia possesses the largest military in Europe.
During the council meeting, representatives of the 30 members of NATO spent four hours discussing the threat of Russian invasion of Ukraine, as well as the Kremlin’s demands.
Afterwards, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the alliance would never compromise on its “open door” policy.
The situation on Ukraine's eastern border is a matter of deep concern for both U.S. and EU 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.
Currently, over 100,000 Russian troops are estimated to be deployed on the Russian-Ukrainian border and in Russian-occupied Ukrainian territories, reports Ukrainian intelligence.
Meanwhile, Oleksiy Danilov, the Secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, stated that a direct invasion of Ukraine by Russian armed forces was unlikely.
However, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov has said that a renewed Russian offensive in Ukraine may occur in late January 2022.
Citing U.S. government sources, on Jan. 11 The New York Times reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin had postponed a possible invasion of Ukraine until later this winter.
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