Ukraine rebukes US claims
Ukrainians should ignore warnings that doomsday is almost upon them because of an impending Russian incursion, the country's top diplomat has cautioned, after US officials sounded the alarm over claims Kiev could fall within days if Moscow orders an offensive.
In a statement on Sunday, Ukraine’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmitry Kuleba sought to allay fears of that a war is looming, adding that his country is prepared for any scenario.
“Don’t believe apocalyptic predictions,” he urged. “Different capitals have different scenarios, but Ukraine is ready for any development of events.”
“Today, Ukraine has a strong army, unprecedented international support, and Ukrainians’ faith in their country,” he went on, writing in Ukrainian only, suggesting that his words were intended for his fellow citizens. According to Kuleba, “the enemy should be afraid of us, not us of them."
In an interview with The Guardian on the same day, Kiev’s former defense minister Andrey Zagorodnyuk claimed that Russia has the military might to “now seize any city in Ukraine.”
However, he said that while the situation looked “pretty dire,” Ukraine does not “see the 200,000 troops needed for a full-scale invasion.” Zagorodnyuk also said that he did not believe a Russian incursion was inevitable.
The Washington Post reported at the weekend that US officials had briefed lawmakers and their European partners on new assessments suggesting Moscow’s armed forces would be able to overrun Kiev in just two days, causing up to five million refugees to flee the chaos.
Western leaders have been warning for months that they fear Moscow could be planning an invasion of Ukraine, and have pointed to reports of Russian troops amassing at the demarcation line, where they say more than 100,000 troops have gathered.
The Kremlin has consistently rejected that it has any plans of attacking, arguing that the movement of its own troops within its borders is an internal matter.
In late January, Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky hit out at the impact these constant alarms of an offensive were having on the Eastern European nation. “There are signals even from respected leaders of states, they just say that tomorrow there will be war,” he told reporters in Kiev. “This is panic - how much does it cost for our state?”