Ukrainian top official says ‘no reason to panic’ amid looming threat of Russian invasion
Even as Russia continues its ominous military buildup and the threat of invasion looms, there is no reason to panic, Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) Secretary Oleksiy Danilov, said at a briefing on Jan. 24.
Calling on the media to not “stoke tensions,” Danilov said that the “…situation is completely under control, there is nothing new for us,” with regard to the threat of renewed Russian aggression.
“We will prevail. If necessary, we will stand shoulder to shoulder to protect our country,” Danilov said, urging the Ukrainian public to analyze the situation themselves.
He added that “the situation has been tense since 2014.”
“We see no grounds for allegations (that there will be) a full-scale offensive. It is even physically impossible,” the NSDC secretary said.
Earlier, he said that the number of Russian troops near the Russian-Ukrainian border was not enough to invade Ukraine, while the threat from Russia had existed since 2014 and the level of risk associated with that had not changed compared to the previous year.
Russia has been massing troops at the Russian-Ukrainian border since late October.
More than 127,000 Russian troops and offensive weapons have been deployed near Ukrainian borders and in the temporarily occupied territories, according to the latest intelligence estimate from the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine provided to CNN this week.
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 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.
While Russia has denied plans to invade, it has also refused to provide assurances that it would not do so, instead demanding that it be provided with “security guarantees” by the United States and NATO.
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