Ukraine needs nuclear arsenal to defeat Russia – former security service chief
Kiev needs a strong nuclear arsenal to be victorious in a war against Russia, the former head of Ukraine’s security service has insisted, as tensions rise between the two nations over concerns Moscow could attack its neighbor.
Speaking on the Ukraine 24 TV channel’s ‘Red Lines’ program on Wednesday, Igor Smeshko criticized what he sees as a lack of help from the country’s supposed Western friends in providing protection against purported aggression from Russian forces.
“If we had the third [largest] atomic arsenal, tactical nuclear weapons, an army of more than a million-strong and strategic aviation, we could have done without the West in our defense capabilities,” he claimed.
Addressing concerns in recent weeks over an alleged build-up of Russian troops on its border with Ukraine, Smeshko said that “any war starts if there are military, economic, and political-diplomatic conditions for it. If we talk about the possibility of Russia starting a full-scale war with Kiev today, it has, unfortunately, all the military and technical possibilities.”
The broadside from the ex-SBU chief comes amid concerns about the risk of an all-out armed conflict between Kiev’s forces and separatists in the Donbass region. Last week, Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov warned that “the probability of hostilities in Ukraine is still high” when asked about the probability of a war in the region.
Maria Zakharova, the spokeswoman for Russia’s Foreign Ministry, also alleged that Kiev was significantly strengthening its military force in the war-torn region by “pulling heavy equipment and personnel” into the area. The official went on to cite reports that the number of Ukrainian troops on the ground there has already reached 125,000 – half of the country’s entire army.
Moscow has repeatedly dismissed allegations from Ukrainian intelligence services and reports in Western news outlets that Russia is beefing up its personnel along the border ahead of launching an offensive against the eastern European nation. Peskov blasted the claims, insisting that “this hysteria, which is being stirred up now in the Anglo-Saxon media, in the Ukrainian media, and is supported by Ukrainian politicians led by the head of state [President Volodymyr Zelensky], is absolutely unacceptable.”
Earlier in November, the Kremlin spokesman said that “the movement of our armed forces on our own territory should be of no concern to anyone,” and that Russia is neither a threat nor a danger to any other country.