There are substantial reasons to believe that Russia still intends to invade Ukraine, British Defence Minister Ben Wallace said on Monday. He called on the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, to give up these plans for the sake of his own people.
“We are on the verge of witnessing an invasion of a democratic country in Europe – this should worry us all,” Mr Wallace said, reporting on Monday to the House of Commons on the situation in Ukraine.
“I believe that there is a danger that (Putin) will find himself on a tragic course of events that will lead to a humanitarian crisis, instability and widespread suffering not only of Ukrainians but also of Russians,” he added.
According to the British politician, he received an assurance from his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu that “Russia has no intention of invading Ukraine”, but cited a whole series of facts pointing to something else.
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Mr Wallace said over the past 48 hours, “contrary to Kremlin assurances, we have seen a continued increase in troop numbers and a shift in the deployment of forces that have moved from stationed areas to potential missile launch sites.”
He noted that there are currently 110 Russian and Belarusian battalion groups along the border with Ukraine, whereas the Black Sea fleet has two groups of amphibians and nine Russian ships equipped with cruise missiles; there are another four ships capable of carrying missiles in the Caspian Sea.
In the opinion of Ben Wallace, with the increase in the number of Russian troops, “there has been an” increase in the number of false flag operations, propaganda measures and fictitious accusations in Russian news services. ”
He stressed that the UK remained adamant in its support for Ukraine and added: “We cannot allow Russia’s destabilising behaviour to affect the territorial integrity of any other sovereign state.”
At the same time Mr Wallace said the UK defence ministry “will continue to monitor Russian activities, support Ukraine’s defence efforts and contribute to NATO’s response measures.”