Ukraine says Russian attack speculation ‘inappropriate’
Ukraine’s Defense Minister Alexey Reznikov has warned against “inappropriate” speculation concerning an imminent Russian attack on Ukraine, while casting doubt on the evacuation of civilians from Donbass.
Reznikov told the Ukrainian 1+1 broadcaster on Sunday that at this moment “no strike group has been formed” by Russia on Ukraine's borders.
“Therefore, in my opinion, it is inappropriate to say that there will be an attack tomorrow or the day after tomorrow. But that does not mean that the risks are low, it does not mean that there is no threat," the minister added, underlining that the Ukrainian army is fully prepared for any developments.
Commenting on the mass evacuation ordered by the authorities of the self-declared breakaway republics in Donetsk and Lugansk ahead of an alleged “breakthrough” by the Ukrainian forces, Reznikov said that Russia has welcomed only “several thousands” of civilians as part of what he called “a farce.”
“Now our intelligence has accurate information that people return home on their own, no one feeds or relocates them there. It's just a production for Mosfilm [Moscow film studio] or whoever is doing movies there,” the minister claimed.
He also said that Kiev would closely monitor the Russian parliament’s meeting on February 22, where the situation around Ukraine is to be discussed. Dubbing the upcoming session “a shamanic event with tambourines,” where some “interesting stupid decisions” might be taken, Reznikov suggested that such decisions would lead “to the rejection of the Minsk agreements” by Moscow.
Russia, in its turn, has repeatedly accused Ukraine of ignoring the Minsk agreements, which had been poised to serve as a roadmap for the peace process in eastern Ukraine after Kiev’s forces suffered major defeats against the rebels in 2014 and 2015. The Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky claims that the agreements have been “poorly written” and that a new document should be signed by world’s major powers to provide his country with security guarantees.