December 7, 2021
Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov told CNN that if Russia decides to invade Ukraine, it will be a “really bloody massacre,” and that “Russian guys will also come back in coffins,” amid increased concern about troop movements on the countries’ border.
Reznikov urged US President Joe Biden, who was scheduled to speak with Russian President Vladimir Putin in a video conference call on Tuesday, to stand firm against Moscow.
“If I may advise President Biden, I would like him to tell Mr. Putin that there should be no red lines from the Kremlin side here. The red line has been crossed in Ukraine, and the civilized world will react swiftly “Reznikov revealed this in an exclusive interview with CNN on Monday.
“The idea of not provocating Russia will fail,” he added.
The buildup of Russian forces on the Ukrainian border has alarmed US and Western officials, with Secretary of State Antony Blinken declaring last week that the US “must prepare for all contingencies.”
Two sources familiar with American intelligence assessments told CNN last week that Russia has capabilities along the Ukraine border to carry out a swift and immediate invasion, including erecting supply lines such as medical units and fuel that could sustain a drawn-out conflict if Moscow chooses to invade.
According to Reznikov, Ukraine believes Russia currently has 95,000 troops within striking distance of Ukraine. He also stated that current US estimates that Russia could assemble 175,000 troops to invade Ukraine were an underestimation due to the strength of battle-hardened Ukrainian forces.
“So we have 250,000 official… army members. In addition, I stated 400,000 veterans and 200,000 reservists. 175,000 dollars is insufficient to travel to Ukraine “Reznikov stated.
Reznikov emphasized that a Russian invasion, if it occurs, would have “disastrous” consequences for the entire European continent, with an estimated 4 to 5 million Ukrainians fleeing to Europe. Reznikov also emphasized that Ukraine is a major food supplier to Europe and Africa, and that supplies would be disrupted.
According to the minister, the Ukrainian army has requested additional military equipment from its allies, including material support and training for its air force and navy. “We don’t need troops because I don’t think it’s fair for American soldiers to die in Ukraine. No, we don’t require it “Reznikov added.
Ukraine has been warning for weeks that Russia is attempting to destabilize the country ahead of any planned military invasion, with NATO noting unusual Russian movements near the border. Western powers have repeatedly warned Russia not to escalate its aggression against Ukraine.
The Kremlin denies any plans for an attack and claims that NATO support for Ukraine, including increased weapon supplies and military training, represents a growing threat on Russia’s western flank.
Regarding the Kremlin’s motivations, Reznikov told CNN that he believed Russia’s threats were intended to sow fear and unrest in Ukraine, as well as to prevent Ukraine from moving closer to NATO and EU membership.
The Kremlin wants a legal guarantee that NATO will not be expanded eastward to include Ukraine, and that NATO military infrastructure, such as missile systems, will not be built in the country.
“If we share or spread panic in our country and within our society, we will be giving the Kremlin a gift, because they are attempting to do so. Because of the gathering of their troops along our border, one of their main goals is to destabilize our country and stop us in our tracks. But we’re going to a NATO ally, the EU “He stated.