Ukraine defense minister warns of ‘bloody massacre’ if Russia invades
A top Ukrainian diplomat on Monday warned that there would be a “really bloody massacre” if Russia invaded the country amid Moscow’s military buildup at the border.
Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov told CNN in an interview that Ukraine will stand firm against Russia after it amassed some 90,000 troops near the Ukrainian border, adding that “Russian guys also will come back in the coffins” if they choose to invade.
Reznikov also urged President Biden, who is set to speak with Russian President Vladimir Putin via video conference on Tuesday, to relay his own message to the Russian president.
“If I can advise President Biden, I would like him to articulate to Mr. Putin that no red lines from the Kremlin side should be here,” he told CNN. “The red line is here in Ukraine and the civilized world will react without hesitation.”
“The idea of not provoking Russia will not work,” he added.
While the U.S. has reportedly estimated that Russia could assemble 175,000 troops to invade Ukraine, Reznikov said that is an underestimate.
“So, we have 250,000 official … members of our army,” he said. “Plus, I said 400,000 veterans and 200,000 reservists. 175,000 (is) not enough to go to Ukraine.”
Reznikov also stressed that a Russian invasion would bring “disastrous” consequences for the rest of the world as it may result in an estimated 4 to 5 million Ukrainians seeking refuge across Europe.
Ukraine, Reznikov added, is also a significant food supplier to Europe and Africa. If Russia invaded, that supply might be interrupted.
While Ukraine requested military equipment aid from its allies, it will not request troops.
“We don’t need troops, because I think it’s not so fair that American soldiers will die in Ukraine. No, we don’t need it,” Reznikov said.
In recent weeks, the tension on the border has grown, with NATO warning that Russia would face ramifications if it attempted to invade Ukraine.
Reznikov told CNN that he believes Moscow’s motives are to create fear and unrest in Ukraine as well as prevent Ukraine from moving closer toward NATO and EU membership.
Moscow is demanding that NATO not be expanded eastward to include Ukraine and that the organization’s military infrastructure, like missile systems, will not be built up in the country, according to CNN.
“If we share or spread panic in our country and inside of our society, it will be the gift to the Kremlin, because they trying to do that,” Reznikov told the news outlet. “Because this gathering of their troops alongside of our border, it’s a main goal of them to make destabilization process inside of our country, to stop us in our way. But we go into the NATO ally, we’re going to EU.”