Ambassador of Ukraine to Germany Andriy Melnyk has called on the West to provide Ukraine with modern military weapons, otherwise the issue of restoring nuclear status is back on the radar screen.
"According to our data, almost 90,000 (Russian) servicemen, as well as their armed systems were pulled to the border and to the region of occupied Crimea and Donbas. This deployment is not just muscle flexing... We are dealing with the largest troop movement in Russia since the Second World War," he told the Deutschlandfunk radio station, as reported by the Ukrainian media outlet European Pravda.
Melnyk said Ukraine needs not only solidarity from the West, but also military equipment, while Germany, according to the diplomat, could abandon its politics of moralizing.
Read alsoU.S. cancels warships deployment to Black Sea – mediaHe believes Ukraine's accession to NATO is the only way to prevent a military attack from Russia.
"We must do everything possible to ensure that [Russian President Vladimir] Putin will not attack us tomorrow or the day after tomorrow. The only possibility for this is for Ukraine to finally become a NATO member. If Ukraine were a NATO member in 2014... it would never have come to the annexation and this terrible war in the east," he said.
The ambassador also does not rule out the return of Ukraine's nuclear status.
"Ukraine has no other choice: either we are part of an alliance such as NATO and are doing our part to make this Europe stronger, or we have the only option – to arm by ourselves, and maybe think about nuclear status again. How else can we guarantee our defense?" Melnyk added.
Russian troops amassing along Ukraine's borders
- On March 30, 2021, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Colonel-General Ruslan Khomchak said Russia had deployed 28 battalion tactical groups along the state border of Ukraine and in the temporarily occupied territories. It is also said to be planning to bring up to 25 battalion tactical groups under the guise of preparing for military drills. Such actions pose a threat to Ukraine's military security.
- According to the Armed Forces of Ukraine, enemy troops are reinforcing their advanced units with reconnaissance teams and sniper pairs, involving Russian army instructors in personnel training. Russia-led forces' artillery units are reportedly on full alert in certain districts, including villages and towns in occupied Ukrainian territory.
- On March 31, 2021, The New York Times reported Russia was pulling 4,000 troops to the border with Ukraine.
- Footage was shared on the Internet, showing a train with Russian military hardware en route along the Kerch Strait bridge to occupied Crimea.
- The U.S. European Command raised its alert status to the highest level after fighting had resumed between Russia-led forces and Ukrainian troops in Donetsk region.
- The U.S. Department of Defense said it was "aware of Russian troop movements" on Ukraine's borders and was concerned about recent escalations of Russian aggression in eastern Ukraine.
- The United States, finding reports of Russian military movements on Ukraine's border credible, asked Moscow to explain the "provocations" and is ready to engage on the situation.
- On April 8, 2021, Khomchak assured the situation was under control, and the Ukrainian military was ready to respond to the escalation both in the temporarily occupied territory of Luhansk and Donetsk regions and along the entire Ukrainian-Russian border.