Ukraine asks for evidence
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has called on Western countries to share intelligence about the alleged forthcoming Russian invasion they have been predicting. It has prompted Moscow to accuse the West of “mocking” both Kiev and common sense.
Zelensky’s remarks come as the crisis over Ukraine is deepening, with NATO forces building up their presence in Eastern Europe, explained as an attempt to prevent Russia from attacking, despite Moscow’s numerous denials of such intentions. On Friday, a number of Western news outlets, quoting unnamed US officials, published stories about a potential Russian attack on Ukraine on February 16.
Speaking at a press briefing on Saturday, Zelensky said that the Ukrainian side understood “that the risks existed,” but emphasized that there was “too much information” in the media about “a deep full-scale war from the Russian Federation.”
“If you or any other people have any additional information about the 100% Russian invasion in Ukraine starting on the 16th [of February], please give us this information. We work on a daily basis, receiving information from our intelligence. We are also grateful to other intelligence agencies of other countries,” Zelensky said.
He added that Ukraine should be prepared for any “surprises” and must rely on itself, on its government agencies, and intelligence, which, according to him, work as well as in other countries.
“We are not afraid of anyone, no panic, everything is under control,” he added, emphasizing that diplomacy is the only way for de-escalation.
Zelensky’s statement has prompted reaction from Moscow, with the Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova asking the public: “Have you ever seen anything like that?”
Emphasizing that the US has been “declaring daily for two months” that Russia was about to attack Ukraine, Zakharova made a point that the Ukrainian president and representatives of the power bloc have been saying all this time that they did not have such information, while “now they are also asking those who care to share the data.”
Zakharova added that apparently no one has such evidence besides some media outlets and unnamed American sources.
“For two months they have been mocking common sense and the Ukrainian people, while implementing another global provocative campaign,” the spokeswoman noted.
Meanwhile, a number of countries have started evacuation of their diplomatic personnel from their embassies in Kiev. Russia also announced its intention to remove some diplomats due to fear of “provocations.”