Ukraine ambassador says all-out war with Russia unlikely, smaller conflicts possible

A Ukrainian diplomat on Wednesday said he did not foresee an all-out war breaking out with Russia amid growing tensions at the border between the two countries, though smaller conflicts may occur.

“I believe that full-scale war is very, very, very difficult to expect, but we may see more localised conflict,” Ukrainian Ambassador to Japan Sergiy Korsunsky said in Tokyo, according to Reuters. “If we come to military terms, let me tell you, we are very much ready, our army is very well prepared.”

Korsunsky reaffirmed Ukraine’s commitment to finding a diplomatic solution to the situation with Russia and warned that a war in his country would threaten Europe as a whole.

“If war is going to happen, that will be the first ever in the history of mankind, war against a country which has on its territory 15 nuclear reactors, which has 30,000 km of gas and oil pipelines, full with gas and oil,” Korsunsky said.

“If all these infrastructure is destroyed, there is no more Ukraine. But this is just one consequence. There is no more central Europe and probably western Europe would be affected, too.”

Western countries have warned that serious economic sanctions would be issued if Russia invades Ukraine. Around 100,000 Russian troops have amassed at the Ukrainian border, prompting fears from the U.S., United Kingdom, Canada and other NATO allies of an invasion.

Negotiators from France, Germany, Ukraine and Russia are meeting this week in Paris to discuss tensions in Eastern Europe.

Russia has demanded assurances from NATO that it will not expand any further eastward and that Ukraine will never be permitted to become a member. On Monday, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the alliance was prepared to hear Russia’s concerns but said they were “not ready to discuss core principles for European security.”