Ukraine says it will not back down to Russian pressure

Ukraine maintained Saturday that it will not back down to pressure from Russia amid increased hostilities along the border between the two countries.

Ukrainian Defense Minister Andrii Taran said Russia was trying to force Kiev to cave in negotiations by ramping up its military presence on the border, but he declared that Ukraine would not let up fighting.

“[T]he actual goals of building up of military presence by the Russian Federation alongside the Ukrainian border and at the temporary occupied territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, might be the increase of pressure on Ukraine for the purpose of forcing it to yield in the course of the negotiation process,” Taran said in a statement Saturday.

“The flames of hostilities incendiated [sic] by Russia are only to be tamed in a political and diplomatic manner. Ukraine initially aims at a civilized way of returning its temporarily occupied territories. However, there should be no compromise in terms of standing for the interests of Ukraine,” he added.

The statement marks the latest barb in increasing tensions between Kiev and Moscow.

Fighting between the Ukrainian military and Russian-backed separatists in the eastern part of the country has increased, and Russia’s military buildup on the border is just the latest in a string of aggressive postures. 

The Kremlin has threatened to breach the border, with senior Kremlin official Dmitry Kozak last week warning that Russia would be ready to defend citizens living in eastern Ukraine. 

Later on in his statement, Taran called on Western nations to rebuff Russia’s latest threats, recognizing that Ukraine alone will be too weak to combat the country’s aggression.  

“The Russian Federation is to understand that any active aggression and escalation in terms of the security environment will lead to a clear and strong response of the international community. The most convincing and effective mechanism to present the firm, sustainable and uncompromised position of the international community to Moscow’s officials, particularly of the European and Euro-Atlantic countries as for supporting Ukraine,” Taran said. 

Ukraine last week announced that it will hold joint military drills with NATO troops later this year, following Russia’s military maneuvers.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken held calls with his French and German counterparts Friday in which they discussed “the importance of supporting Ukraine against unilateral Russian provocations along the Line of Contact in eastern Ukraine, in occupied Crimea, and along Ukraine’s borders as well as the need for Russia to immediately cease its military buildup and inflammatory rhetoric.”

Tags Andrii Taran Antony Blinken Russo-Ukrainian War Ukraine

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