Ukraine reveals impact of Russian 'invasion' fears
With fears that Russia’s armed forces could begin pouring over the border into Ukraine hitting fever pitch in recent weeks, the country’s economy is feeling the strain of the frenzy whipped up by Western leaders and media outlets, Kiev’s most senior diplomat has claimed.
In an interview with Vice World News that aired on Saturday, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba said that, while Moscow hasn’t yet ordered an invasion of its neighbor, Ukraine was “already suffer[ing] economically and becom[ing] weaker because of the panic spread into society.”
He said the markets and the public alike needed to understand that Kiev and its partners in the West were working to prevent “the worst-case scenario.”
“We shouldn’t allow [Russian] President [Vladimir] Putin to get what he wants without even crossing the red line,” he remarked. Asked what he would say to the Russian leader, Kuleba said he would tell Putin to “mind your own business” and, instead, take care of his country’s citizens.
According to the diplomat, if the president had concentrated “on the welfare and the future of Russia instead of … spending billions on waging wars and cyberattacks, and then imposing military threats on different countries around the globe, Russia would have been a different place, a much better place to live, and we would have had less headache.”
In recent months, Ukrainian and Western officials have repeatedly voiced concerns about the prospect of an imminent invasion, citing reports that Moscow was amassing troops and hardware near the shared frontier. Allegations to that effect made in English-language outlets have been described by the Kremlin’s press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, as “groundless” and dismissed as “hysteria.”
Moscow has consistently denied all such accusations, arguing that the movement of its armed forces in its own territory was an internal matter and of no concern to anyone else.
Last week, Kuleba said the number of Russian troops stationed near the border was currently “insufficient for a full-scale offensive against Ukraine along the entire Ukrainian border.” He added that they lacked some of the “important military indicators and systems to conduct such a large, full-scale offensive.”