Russia is strengthening the military infrastructure along the border with Ukraine, and there is also constant movement of weaponry, ammunition, military equipment, soldiers and mercenaries into the territory of the Donbas, as stated by the Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (NSDC), Oleksandr Turchynov, in an interview for Interfax-Ukraine.
“The situation in the ATO (Anti-Terrorist Operation) zone is prompting us to urgently make the decisions which we discussed with you at the start of the conversation (regarding the new format of opposing Russia). Since only in the course of recent months several times a ceasefire has been declared which was not observed by the aggressor even for a day… As this takes place we are bearing losses not only among our soldiers, but also among the civilian population. There are constant attempts to break the Ukrainian defense,” he said.
Turchynov emphasized that there is constant movement of weaponry, ammunition, military equipment, professional soldiers and mercenaries from Russian territory.
“And the main thing which really concerns us is the quick build-up of a powerful group of Russian armed forces along our border. At any moment these many thousands of assault divisions could join in the military actions against the Ukrainian army. We must take all of this into account, and be ready for this,” the NSDC secretary explained.
According to him, these are the portions of the border with the Belgorod, Voronezh and Rostov regions, that is, all the northern and eastern borders.
“From the Azov Sea up to the border with Belarus, powerful military infrastructure has been created. Furthermore, preparation is underway for the large-scale military exercises of “Zapad 2017”, which the Kremlin is planning to conduct at the start of September. The exercises will be held, amongst other places, in Belarusian territory, with the use of aircraft, armored vehicles, artillery, and special operations forces. In this way, a huge concentration of forces will be achieved, looming over the western part of Ukraine, which creates a very serious danger for us,” Turchynov added.
Previously Turchynov said that Ukraine needs to end the ATO and transition to a new format of national defense against hybrid war from Russia. According to him, the mentioned draft law “to re-establish the state sovereignty of Ukraine over the temporarily occupied territories of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions” will be presented to the president, after which it will promptly be introduced to the Verkhovna Rada. President Petro Poroshenko spoke against the ending of the ATO, and stated that a draft law to reintegrate the Donbas is being developed.
In February Poroshenko said that he does not consider an attack of Russian forces through Belarus a possibility, but the threat of full-scale aggression from Russia is still pertinent. Divisions of the Russian Armed Forces amounting to as much as 50,000 persons are deployed in direct proximity to the border with Ukraine.
Earlier, the President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko promised that he would not allow his territory to be used for hostile actions.