A senior Kremlin official warned that Ukraine’s massive rise in opposition to separatists along the border with Russia would result in Ukraine ending its existence as the world knows.
Dmitry Kozak, who is deputy chief of staff of Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, said on Thursday during a virtual talk between experts that in the event of a massive invasion of Ukrainian forces, Russia will be forced to defend. Its citizens live on the eastern Ukrainian border. A region that declared autonomy from the central government in Kiev seven years ago.
Kozak, who himself was born in Ukraine together with Russia as part of the Soviet Union, warned that this would result in the collapse of neighboring countries.
“I support the existing assessment in Ukraine as well that the beginning of the hostilities is the beginning of the end of Ukraine,”; Kozak said, according to the state-run RIA Novosti news agency.
He describes the movement in parts of Kiev as “It was a wound that I had been shot in the leg. But right into the face “
The speech came on the same day Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky made his way to the front line amid a growing clash between forces and rebels in which he accused Moscow of direct support. The Ukrainian leader said earlier this week after talks with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg that Kyiv joining a Western military alliance would be the only way to end the conflict.
Kosak cancels this possibility.
“Where is NATO? Where is the conflict in Ukraine? Logical,” asked Kozak. “This is also the beginning of the collapse of Ukraine.”
As tensions escalate and clashes escalate, the seventh anniversary of the conflict in the Donbas region has been frozen in recent years, Kozak was not the only Russian figure. The only one referring to Ukraine, which may have ceased to exist.
Referring to Putin, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Larov told Channel One’s Big Game last week: “Those who will try to start a new war in the Donbas will destroy Ukraine,” other high-ranking Moscow officials have issued a similar language over the years.
The Russian president spoke about the war during Wednesday’s phone conversation with German Prime Minister Angela Merkel, who criticized Russia’s role. Reading from German says the conversation took place. “Among other things, a growing Russian military presence in the vicinity of eastern Ukraine”
“The prime minister called for the loosening of the building so as to prevent escalation,” Merkel’s office said.
The Kremlin gave another account of the conversation.
“Vladimir Putin is interested in the provocative act of Kiev, which is now deliberately aggravating the situation along the line of contact,” the Kremlin said, adding that the two leaders. Noting the need for Kiev authorities to carry out previous agreements without fail, especially those aiming to launch direct negotiations with Donetsk and Lugansk. And to formally formulate the special status of Donbass according to the law. “
Most of the Russian-speaking Ukrainian provinces of Donetsk and Lugansk in Donbas declared independence as two separate people’s republics in May 2014 amid nationwide unrest from uprising that toppled the government. Central in kiev Local populations supporting Russia oppose the new Ukrainian government in these regions, as well as in the Crimea, which Russia annexed after the referendum last March.
The independence of Donetsk and Lugansk has not yet been recognized internationally, while the Crimean vote met mixed reactions between the United Nations member states and international organizations. Many Western powers view the move as illegal and the United States has offered Ukraine military assistance in an effort to take back Donetsk and Lugansk.
The issue of US aid to Ukraine was at the center of a political scandal in 2019 in which former President Donald Trump was accused of supporting Kyiv with a quid quo pro deal that would This led to an investigation into Zelensky’s alleged corruption involving the son of Trump’s rival. Joe Biden, who will run for president next year. The story will see Trump sued by the House of Representatives. But acquitted by the Senate
Since taking over in January, Biden has made deep criticisms of Putin. He called Zelensky on the phone earlier this week, where he “Reaffirms the United States’ unwavering support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity in the face of the continuing invasion of Russia in Don Bass and Crimea.”
Although the conflict has been a stalemate in recent years. But casualties continued to rise on the front, bringing the estimated death toll to more than 13,000.Fights soared in recent weeks, especially after Zelensky signed on. The decree of March 24, which appeared to emphasize the occupation of Crimea, where Russia had reverted to its mainland.
In addition to Russian investments in infrastructure and even tourism, Crimea and Sevastopol’s largest city are home to Russia’s Black Sea fleet. The elite naval forces often perform drills in contested waters. On Thursday, the Russian warship Admiral Essen Organized artillery drills on coastal targets, located at the Crimea’s Opuk specialized training ground.
Elsewhere, reports of Russian reinforcements near Ukraine’s eastern front, along with Donetsk and Lugansk, raised concerns about a potential showdown between the two.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby addressed the issue during a press conference on Wednesday in which he urged Moscow to clarify whether the move was part of a regular practice.
“We call on Russia to show their intentions more clearly what they are doing with this border force,” Kirby said.
At the same time, the US continues to supply Ukraine. The Pentagon announced last month that it would offer $ 125 million in military aid over the fiscal year 2021.The US, NATO and its allies have been conducting and planning future training sessions in both Ukraine and in the Black Sea region as part of the The measures they are based on what they view as a rising Russian aggression.
Maria Zakharova, a spokesman for Russia’s foreign ministry, attacked these developments during a news conference on Wednesday.
“All this does not affect regional security, end the Donbass conflict and cause serious concern for the Russian side,” Zakharova said. Phobik to halt military preparations and escalate tensions in the Donbass and refrain from actions that could lead to the instability of the situation in Eastern Ukraine.