For Kiev, Putin wants to “destroy Ukraine”

Russian President Vladimir “Putin wants to destroy Ukraine” and “restore the USSR”, denounces to AFP the secretary of the Ukrainian National Security Council at the height of tensions with Moscow, assuring that this project is dedicated to l ‘failure.

For more than a month, the West has accused Russia of having massed around 100,000 soldiers on the Ukrainian border with a view to military intervention and has been issuing warnings to the Kremlin, which denies any bellicose intention.

“For us, the threat exists every day, regardless of the number of troops” deployed by Moscow, said Oleksiy Danilov, 59, secretary of the Ukrainian Security Council, in an interview in his office.

Mr. Putin will not achieve his goals because “in the event of a Russian offensive, the whole of society, military and civilians (…) will put up resistance”, estimated Mr. Danilov. We will protect our country. Period. “

The Russian president, for his part, has been questioning the existence of a Ukrainian nation for years. In particular, he said Thursday that Ukraine was “created” by Lenin in the 1920s.

Danilov, however, downplayed the risk of an impending escalation, adding that, according to Kiev estimates, the number of Russian troops around Ukraine had only increased slightly, from 93,000 in October to around 104,000 today. .

“We don’t see a critical build-up,” Danilov noted.

“Destabilization”

According to him, the Kremlin seeks above all to “destabilize” Ukraine from within through “cyber attacks” and an “energy crisis” while this country, one of the poorest in Europe, lacks coal and gas. and risk facing serious power cuts this winter.

If this scenario fails, the Russian authorities will “use other means, including military”, estimated Mr. Danilov. They want to segment our country so that it no longer exists within its current borders. “

The two countries have been at daggers drawn since Moscow’s annexation of the Crimean peninsula in 2014, followed by a war in eastern Ukraine with pro-Russian separatists. The Kremlin, despite its denials, is considered the rebels’ great military and political support.

This conflict, whose political settlement has stalled, has left more than 13,000 dead and around 1.5 million displaced in Ukraine, a country of 40 million people located at the gates of the European Union.

Moscow accuses Kiev of preparing a military offensive to retake the separatist territories, but the Ukrainian authorities firmly exclude it.

“We cannot” use force because that would result in “a very large number of civilian victims”, noted Mr. Danilov, former mayor of the city of Lougansk, now in the hands of the separatists.

“We would like there to be negotiations and for the Russians to withdraw their soldiers, their tanks and return home. But Putin doesn’t want it. “

More weapons

On the other hand, in the event of an escalation with Moscow, “millions of refugees” will rush “to Europe”, warned the senior Ukrainian official.

While the West has threatened Moscow with new punitive measures in the event of an attack, Kiev is calling for preventive sanctions and more weapons.

“Providing us with weapons to defend ourselves is the number one issue. No short-lived promises and sanctions, ”thundered Mr. Danilov. When our country is destroyed, against whom are you going to impose sanctions? “

The official warned the West against any arrangement with the Kremlin in the run-up to negotiations in January between Moscow and Washington on security demands from the Kremlin, which notably demands that Kiev never join NATO.

According to Mr. Danilov, the Ukrainians will never accept agreements concluded “behind the back”. “We are not Russia,” he stresses. “So-called great leaders cannot make us bow and decide for us. “

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Reference-www.ledevoir.com

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